Shane McAnally Is Taking His Dispute With ASCAP to Arbitration

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Shane McAnally alleges that ASCAP owes him $1.3 million dollars

Country songwriter and hitmaker Shane McAnally has no intentions of backing down over his dispute with The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers also known as the ASCAP.  He is taking into arbitration the $1.3 million he claims the ASCAP owes him. In 2013, McAnally left ASCAP and had Global Music Rights license his songs. He took his catalog with him but ASCAP’s radio license for his catalog continued for two and a half years after his departure. After he left, ASCAP stopped paying his premiums for his top performing songs.

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The dispute came about due to an “Audio Feature Premium” payment. This is essentially a bonus that PROs pay for their highest-earning songs each quarter. ASCAP pays out premiums aside from royalty payments, to hit songs that receive the most licensing revenue. This is an incentive to retain top songwriters like McAnally. Under the terms of its agreement, “ASCAP continues to license songs even after a songwriter leaves until its licensing contract with radio stations expires.”  This meant that the organization continued to collect the royalties owed to McAnally for eight chart-topping songs even though he had a new agreement with Global Music Rights. According to music industry icon Irving Azoff who founded GMR, “Despite his repeated requests for information related to his distributions, ASCAP never once explained to him, nor could they point to any of their governing documents that justified his treatment,”

McAnally is now taking the matter to an independent arbitration panel

The ASCAP review board reviewed 65 elements of evidence and eight hours of live testimony and ruled in ASCAP’s favor. The board found “no evidence that ASCAP orchestrated a ‘windfall’ for its own gain,” noting that McAnally’s “resigning member distributions were appropriately calculated.” Of course, McAnally is not taking this sitting down.  According to the two-time Grammy winner, he is pursuing this because he wants to protect songwriters from falling into the same situation should they decide to leave ASCAP. He also said in a press release recently that the situation was like a “country song cliché.” “They lied, they cheated, they stole.”