ASCAP Cuts ASCAPlus Payments To Members Despite “Stunning Revenue and Distribution Growth”

Film Music Magazine • October 6, 2010

ASCAP has cut ASCAPlus performance royalty award payments only months after claiming “stunning revenue and distribution growth.”

According to ASCAP, these payments are for “writer members of any genre whose performances are primarily in venues not surveyed; and/or writer members whose catalogs have prestige value for which they would not otherwise be compensated.” The deadline for the most recent awards was June 1, 2010, covering performances of members’ music occurring during the period of June 2009 – May 2010.

ASCAP has declined to specify the amount of the cuts, however ASCAP members in online music forums discussing the issue have reported cuts in their payments ranging from no reduction to a 20% – 30% reduction compared to previous amounts.

An April 22, 2010 announcement described the organization’s fiscal results for 2009 in glowing terms, stating, “Music is performed more often, in more places, in more ways by more businesses than ever before. That expanded music use, combined with dramatic ASCAP Membership growth, market share increases and effective strategic management have led to stunning revenue and distribution growth for 2009.”

ASCAP reported that in 2009 collections rose to $995 million, a $48 million increase from the $947 million collected in 2008.

Yet a letter accompanying the reduced ASCAPlus payments issued only months after ASCAP’s April 22 announcement stated, “Unfortunately, because of the fiscal climate, less money was available this year for the award program.”

It is unknown whether money was set aside for ASCAPlus awards from the record revenues received by ASCAP during 2009, or whether the “fiscal climate” ASCAP refers to in its letter to ASCAPlus award recipients refers a more current financial situation at ASCAP.

ASCAP did not respond to multiple requests seeking a further explanation for the payment cuts.

Comments

By Phil Johnson on October 7th, 2010 at 8:40 am

I got that letter. It’s unfortunate. I’m sure for many of their members, that’s the only ASCAP money they get.

By June on October 12th, 2010 at 10:59 am

I got that letter too. I got mid 3 figures for my award; I was predicting and hoping for more. However, BMI has no such program… so, I say less is still better than nothing.

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