ASCAP Turns to Streaming Services for Collection of Royalties

ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) reported having its best year to date in 2014. The not-for-profit performance-rights organization, which collects royalties on behalf of over 500,000 musical artists and more than 10 million songs, collected a little over $1 billion in revenue for 2014. ASCAP said that it had improved its efforts in identifying songs being played via streaming services and in return created opportunities to pay more artists for their work.

streamingAccording to The New York Times, “[after] deducting its operating expenses, ASCAP last year paid a total of $883 million to its members, up nearly 4 percent from 2013.” The organization achieved these results by tracking twice as many song performances, especially on streaming services like Spotify and YouTube, than the previous year.

Nielsen calculated an increase in on-demand music streaming of about 54.5 percent from 2013 to 2014.

ASCAP “identified more than 1.3 million pieces of music that were played last year on digital streaming services — some 30 times what it was able to recognize in 2013 — and as a result it has paid nine times as many songwriters for their work,” NYT adds.

ASCAP claims it has been hindered by regulations that have protected streaming services from paying fair royalties. NYT notes that last year, “a federal judge dealt a blow to ASCAP and major music publishers by keeping Pandora’s royalty rate unchanged, and criticizing the publishers for coordinating with ASCAP during negotiations.”

This week a Senate Judiciary subcommittee will conduct a hearing on the consent decrees of ASCAP and its rival BMI.