Songwriter Paul Williams Selected as President of and Chairman of ASCAP; Wood and Broughton Top FMM Poll

Film Music Magazine • May 11, 2009

Songwriter Paul Williams was selected as President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP by the ASCAP Board of Directors at its meeting in Nashville, TN. The Board, working in secret, did not announce why Williams was selected and did not announce the names of any other candidates who may have been under consideration.

Williams’ selection follows on the heels of songwriter Marilyn Bergman’s decision to step down from the ASCAP Presidency, although she will continue as an active Board Member. Bergman announced her plans on April 8, 2009, after 15 years as President and Chairman of the Board.

Songwriter Jimmy Webb has been elected writer Vice Chairman to replace Williams, who held that post for the prior two years. On the publisher side, the re-elected officers are: Irwin Robinson of Paramount Allegra Music as Vice Chairman; Kathy Spanberger of peermusic as Secretary; and James M. Kendrick of Schott Music Corporation/European American Music Corporation as Treasurer.

For composers, the choice of another songwriter may signal a continuation of ASCAP’s policies that consider a one-minute cue of custom score music within a film or TV show to have only 20% of the value of a one-minute song cue in the same production. This, despite there being no difference in the amount paid by broadcasters to ASCAP for song vs. score. As ASCAP’s songwriters dominate the ASCAP writer board and have a major vested interest in keeping the major royalty rate difference intact, the choice of a songwriter was not unexpected. The selection of songwriter Jimmy Webb as Vice Chairman continues the pattern of complete songwriter control of ASCAP’s top positions, leaving composers unrepresented in those positions.

On a related subject, the results of Film Music Magazine’s industry reader poll asking which ASCAP writer board member should be elected President were as follows:

Doug Wood – 23%
Bruce Broughton – 23%
Paul Williams – 13%
Valerie Simpson – 10%
Richard Bellis – 9%
Jimmy Webb – 7%
Hal David – 6%
Dan Foliart – 6%
Johnny Mandel – 3%
Wayland Holyfield – 0%
Stephen Paulus – 0%

For more information about ASCAP, visit

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