ASCAP posted revenue of more than $1 billion last year, the first performance rights collector to do so. The company distributed more than $883 million in royalties to songwriters, composers, and publishers. ASCAP also said that it doubled the number of performances that it has processed for payment, paying out royalties for 500 billion musical moments. In streaming services, ASCAP paid royalties to nine times as many artists as in 2013. It also identified more than 1.3 million unique compositions for payment on those platforms.
“Our 2014 financial results clearly demonstrate that collective licensing is the most efficient licensing model available to creators and music licensees alike,” new CEO Elizabeth Matthews said of the year’s results. “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.”
Matthews may be talking up ASCAP’s model in response to the rumblings among publishers that they want to withdraw from that collective licensing arrangement. Sony/ATV and Universal Music Publishing Group have put their catalogs online, which could enable them to do their negotiations directly with licensees. Consent decrees are also still under consideration at the Department of Justice. Both of those could mean a serious shake-up to ASCAP’s business.