Music org collects $576 million in 2000

NEW YORK — While fraught with uncertainty over the future of music copyrights in the digital age, the rights holders’ group ASCAP reported record revenues for last year at its annual West Coast membership meeting Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The music org said its top line for the year came to $576 million — more than any performing rights group in the world has collected in a single year. Of that figure, $479.1 million was distributed to ASCAP’s domestic and foreign publisher-clients in 2000.

The org’s operating ratio for the year — roughly the percentage of its gross take that it retains for expenses before paying members — was 15.6%, the lowest, the group claimed, of all the performance rights orgs in the U.S.

ASCAP and rival BMI effectively dominate the U.S. market for collection of royalties for musical performances, with each holding just under half the domestic market. Competitor SESAC reps only about 1% of U.S. rights holders.

Membership up

ASCAP said its own membership base swelled by 21% last year. The org now reps more than 110,000 lyricists, composers and publishers, whom ASCAP said produced three-quarters of the top 10 hits on the Billboard charts in 2000.

The group holds three membership meetings each year, one each in L.A., New York and Nashville.

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