Performing rights society ASCAP today announced that its total revenues for 2018 were a record $1.227 billion, an increase of 7% over 2017. Distributions crossed the $1 billion mark for the second year in a row, with $1.109 billion in royalties paid out to its songwriter, composer and publisher members — also a record. Distributions increased by $102 million, up 10% year-over-year. In 2017, the organization collected $1.14 billion in revenues and distributed $1.007 billion to members.
Elsewhere, domestic revenue from US music licensing surpassed the prior year by 7% to hit $906 million; audio streaming revenue was up by 25% and audio visual by 7% year-over-year. General and background revenue, which encompasses more than 800,000 bars, grills, taverns, hotels, retail stores, fitness centers and other businesses, grew by 9%.
ASCAP secured a total of $321 million in 2018 foreign revenue, an increase of 7% over the prior year. Domestic distributions from ASCAP-licensed and administered performances in the US increased to $814 million, up 12.5% over 2017. Foreign distributions totaled $295 million, an increase of 4%.
ASCAP Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Matthews said: “ASCAP’s outstanding 2018 results were driven by our team’s laser focus on making smart, strategic deals to yield growth and stability for our members. Four years into our six-year strategic plan, we are seeing healthy year-over-year compound annual revenue growth rates averaging 7%. In 2018 alone, our commitment to efficiency and innovation allowed us to pay more than $100 million more to our members in distributions than the prior year all while we continue to take the steps necessary to protect their future.”
ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams said: “ASCAP members know that they belong to an organization that is always in their corner, whether we are nurturing their early careers, closing important licensing deals with music users or fighting for their rights in Congress. 2018 was a year of great progress for songwriters and composers with the passage of the Music Modernization Act. There is still more work to do to modernize music licensing laws and bring us closer to a free market and fair value for songwriters’ creative work.”
On May 2, ASCAP will kick off the 14th edition of its “I Create Music” EXPO event in Los Angeles, with three days of panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes and one-on-one sessions. Guests include Questlove, Wyclef Jean, Lee Ann Womack, Portugal. The Man, Victoria Monét (co-writer of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings”), Anthony Rossomando (co-writer of “A Star Is Born” theme “Shallow”), and others.