ASCAP Brought In One Billion Dollars in 2014

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ASCAP says they’re the first PRO to bring in $1 billion in a year, which they pulled off in 2014.

Of that $1 billion, they paid out $883 million in royalties to songwriters, composers, and publishers.

In 2013 they paid out about $850.7 million.

ASCAP is not-for-profit, and only deducting operating costs from their total revenue. They say they only take about 12.6 percent for operating expenses. Everything else goes to their members.

They represent Beyoncé, Jay Z, Beck, St. Vincent, Kendrick Lamar, and many others.

CEO Elizabeth Matthews says:

“Our 2014 financial results clearly demonstrate that collective licensing is the most efficient licensing model available to creators and music licensees alike. The collective can accommodate big data growth of extreme scale at the lowest cost while also providing access to a broad, diverse and high quality repertory of music.”

In 2014 ASCAP collected royalties for 500 billion performances, up from 250 billion in 2013. They represent about 10 million works by 525,000 creators. 40,000 new members joined in 2014.

 

Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more: @nine_u

 

 

Image by Keith Cooper, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

10 Responses

  1. Paul Resnikoff
    Paul Resnikoff

    I’d argue that this is a red herring. $1 billion is part of a ballooning penny stream pushed partly by digital formats, which is all about micro-payments. But remember, the biggest publishers, Sony/ATV on down, are trying to figure out how to get out of these PRO deals so that they can truly maximize the value of their catalogs long term. Intense top-down, downward revenue pressure on these giants, not to mention surges in technological capabilities, make PROs a difficult sector to bet on long-term.

    Reply
    • so

      All you need to know about the motivation for this push: “Our 2014 financial results clearly demonstrate that collective licensing is the most efficient licensing model available to creators and music licensees alike.”

      Reply
  2. Remi Swierczek

    They are getting better on collecting license fee on unsold goods. Their excitement is short lived and naive!

    Music has to become merchandise again.

    Reply
  3. Dustin

    Just curious about something in their statistics. How can they collect from twice as many performances but payouts only increase 4%? Why isn’t it closer to a 50% increase? I know publishing is a complex business, maybe there’s an obvious answer.

    Reply
  4. Jeff Robinson

    I wonder how much went under-reported by the streaming entities to BMI and ASCAP? Why pay on an invisible medium if you can get away with NOT paying? I’m sure there are hundreds of millions of dollars NOT reported that the streaming entities hang on to.

    Reply
    • Musician Who Understands

      Well, not surprisingly, the lack of understanding of these issues evidenced by the comments here is once again painful to observe.

      1) Paul Resnikoff

      “I’d argue that this is a red herring.”

      1) What about ASCAP, anon-profit, stating their annual earnings are you suggesting is a “red herring”? These are their annual numbers. Regardless of the balance of your totally uninformed critique of the business (dealt with below), there’s nothing about saying they’ve increased revenues that is meant to – or could – distract from some other issue. It’s not a “red herring.” It’s an announcement of the revenues of a non-profit.

      Paul Resnikoff

      2) “$1 billion is part of a ballooning penny stream pushed partly by digital formats, which is all about micro-payments.”

      Oh boy…

      a) A “ballooning penny stream”?!?!?! And YOU said red herring, just above! Ha!

      WTF does that even mean?!?! I guess that’s your best effort, trying to re-cast ASCAP’s clearly increasing revenues as somehow fitting into your myopic world-view that “digital doesn’t pay enough.”

      b) What is “pushed partly by digital formats”? The fact that ASCAP voluntarily agreed with the RMLC – their BIGGEST revenue source – to take lower rates than digital, and give those radio broadcasters $70million back?

      c) ASCAP doesn’t take “micro-payments” for individual plays. They never have. They base their payments on a percentage of total revenues of licensed broadcasters.

      Do you understand ANY of this, Paul????

      Paul Resnikoff

      “Intense top-down, downward revenue pressure on these giants, not to mention surges in technological capabilities, make PROs a difficult sector to bet on long-term.”

      Let’s play econ-302 buzz-word bingo!!!

      What is the “intense, top-down, downward revenue pressure” you’re talking about? It seems that ASCAP’s revenues go up, EVERY year, year after year.

      What “surges in technological capabilities” make them a difficult bet (not that you can invest in these non-profits, anyway)?

      Dustin

      “Just curious about something in their statistics. How can they collect from twice as many performances but payouts only increase 4%? Why isn’t it closer to a 50% increase? I know publishing is a complex business, maybe there’s an obvious answer.”

      I wonder why you would look only at/only ask about the increase in payouts, and not also the increase in revenue collected (which, not surprisingly, increased by about the same percentage as payouts).

      The answer is: Because what they collect in revenue/pay out is not tied to actual plays. As I had to explain to Paul above, and Jeff Robinson, below, ASCAP takes payments based on a percentage of revenue for the broadcasting entity. i.e. A radio station agrees to pay 1.7% of revenue to ASCAP. If it generates $1m in revenue, it pays ASCAP $17,000. That radio station pays the same $17,000 to ASCAP, whether it plays only 5 ASCAP-affiliated songs or 500,000 ASCAP affiliated songs, in the period.

      Jeff Robinson

      “I wonder how much went under-reported by the streaming entities to BMI and ASCAP? Why pay on an invisible medium if you can get away with NOT paying? I’m sure there are hundreds of millions of dollars NOT reported that the streaming entities hang on to.”

      This is just silly. If you so obviously don’t know a GD THING about how this works, why do you feel comfortable posting? Seriously…

      Streaming entities can’t “hang on to hundreds of millions of dollars for under-reported streams.”

      Again, ASCAP charges broadcasters based on revenue – NOT plays.

      But for the record, sibnce ytou brought it up, even ASCAP will tell you that the reporting by digital services is, literally, LIGHT YEARS ahead of traditional radio, in terms of transparency and accountability. Digital services can (and do) report every single play they transmit. Terrestrial radio has fought that obligation, tooth and nail. Traditional broadcasters don’t even properly report their limited “sample data” most of the time.

      Please, find some other windmill to tilt at (and maybe learn something about it, before announcing your complete lack of understanding of the subject). Can I suggest 9-11 “truthing” or perhaps that the moon landings were faked?

      Reply
  5. anon

    I would strongly question the assumption that ASCAP is collecting on a micro-payment basis. Also, the number of streams/plays is irrelevant to total distributions. ASCAP creates a royalty pool based on the $ they bring in from licensees. That royalty pool is split up based on usage. The pool can be payed out based on a survey or based on census (or some combination of the two). They just started dividing up their royalty pool among more works since they are apparently tracking on a closer-to-census basis.

    Reply

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