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Record-Breaking Billion Dollar Revenues Distributed By ASCAP

As reported by MusicRow, in 2023, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) made history by achieving a record-breaking revenue of $1.737 billion. This marked a significant increase of $204 million or 14.7 percent over the previous year. A staggering $1.592 billion of this revenue was available for royalty distributions to its members, making it the highest reported figure by any U.S. performing rights organization (PRO).

2023 was a landmark year for ASCAP, with revenues surging by $215 million or 14.1 percent compared to 2022. The growth in ASCAP's revenue was not limited to one sector, as it saw an increase of $149 million or 12.6 percent in domestic revenue from U.S.-licensed performances. This surge can be attributed to the monetization and valuation of its members' music.

The rise in ASCAP's revenue was not confined to the domestic market. The organization also saw a significant increase in its foreign revenues, which were $410 million, marking a 19.3 percent growth over the previous year. This growth was driven by various factors, including a 21 percent surge in audio streaming revenue, a 23 percent increase in general licensing revenue, and a 10 percent rise in radio revenue.

Since the launch of ASCAP’s strategic growth plan in 2015, the organization has seen a consistent increase in its revenue. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for total revenue through 2023 has risen to seven percent, and the CAGR for total distributions has climbed to eight percent.

ASCAP's total funds available for domestic distributions of ASCAP U.S.-licensed and administered performances were $1.217 billion. This was an increase of $169 million or 16.1 percent, solely based on U.S. performances of works by ASCAP-licensed songwriter, composer, and publisher members. A portion of this total, $53 million, was distributed through Songwize, ASCAP’s royalty administration service provided to members who directly license their works. This distribution saw a 16.8 percent increase over 2022.

ASCAP represents and aggregates over 19 million copyrights, making it a significant player in the music industry. This vast collection includes music from renowned artists such as Beyoncé, Billy Joel, Cardi B, Dua Lipa, Garth Brooks, Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Lil Baby, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mariah Carey, Olivia Rodrigo, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Usher, and more.

ASCAP operates on a not-for-profit basis, unlike many of its competitors. The organization does not charge a commission or take a profit. Instead, it is obligated to deduct all expenses subject to a reasonable reserve and then disburse all remaining monies as royalty distributions to its members.

ASCAP has no debt, no shareholders, no private owners, and no private equity investors. Consequently, the music creator and publisher members are the sole beneficiaries of ASCAP’s financial success. The organization's Board of Directors, composed of music publishers and music creators, sets the royalty distribution rules and cost allocations based on follow-the-dollar principles. ASCAP is unique among U.S. PROs in that it makes these distribution rules publicly available on its website, providing transparency to its membership.

“We are delivering industry-leading technical innovation, legislative advocacy and revenue growth that solely benefits our members, not outside investors or shareholders,” says ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews.

“As we like to say, private equity never wrote an iconic love song which is why we fight purely for songwriters, composers and publishers, not for those who use creators and their works of art for their own profits or to secure their own debt. ASCAP differs from others because our mission and purpose is clear and unique.”

“ASCAP’s mission and not-for-profit business model are more important now than ever before, as artificial intelligence (AI) transforms the music landscape, and the need for legislative advocacy to protect creators in D.C. has never been more important,” says ASCAP Chairman of the Board & President Paul Williams.

“ASCAP will always be a champion for the humans who create music and demand transparency and fair payment from those who exploit our work. ASCAP makes it possible for our songwriter and composer members to write the next song, to earn a living and to support their families. No one else in the industry has the backs of songwriters like ASCAP.”

On February 13, ASCAP celebrated its 110th anniversary. The organization also announced several new ASCAP family members, including songwriter and producer Jack Antonoff, pop star PinkPantheress, Jared Leto and Shannon Leto of 30 Seconds To Mars, and South African singer-songwriter Tyla.

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