ASCAP, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, today announced record-setting financial results for 2021. The ASCAP team drove total revenue collected to a historic high of $1.335 billion.
Increases in collections from the audio streaming and audio-visual sectors pushed ASCAP’s domestic revenue to $1.011 billion in 2021, up 4.4%, an increase of $42.5 million over 2020. This was the first year that ASCAP domestic revenues from U.S.-licensed performances surpassed $1 billion.
Since the start of ASCAP’s strategic growth plan in 2015, ASCAP revenues have enjoyed a 5% compound annual growth rate and ASCAP members have benefited from a 6% compound annual growth rate in overall distributions, and an 8% compound annual growth rate in domestic distributions.
ASCAP’s identification, matching and processing of trillions of musical performances drove record-setting distributions that exceeded $1 billion for the fifth year in a row and increased $41 million over the previous year, for a total of $1.254 billion available for distribution to its more than 850,000 songwriter, composer and publisher members in 2021.
Total monies available for domestic distributions of licensed and administered performances amounted to $912.6 million, a 2.4% increase of $22 million over 2020.
Strong domestic performance helped to offset the challenges in foreign revenues, due to the ongoing global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue from foreign societies in 2021 totaled $323.5 million, down 9.7% from 2020 due largely to business closures and the lack of vaccinations. Nevertheless, due to ASCAP technological and distribution process efficiencies and timing, international distributions were up $19 million, or 5.9%, bringing total monies available for distributions up 3.4% over 2020.
“The ASCAP team is dedicated to building a future of opportunity for our songwriter, composer and music publisher members,” commented ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “We know music creators have been deeply affected by the pandemic, and that is why it is so important that ASCAP has delivered more royalties to our members when they need it most. Through our licensing, advocacy and wellness efforts, we strive to provide both economic and emotional support to our members to help them weather these challenging times and to create a brighter future.”
In 2021, ASCAP expanded its Audio-Visual Premium payment plan (the “AVP”) to ensure that ASCAP composers have the ability to share in the success of top-streamed shows on major “over-the-top” (OTT) streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max. This is in addition to the continuation of AV premium eligibility for top-rated series on cable and broadcast.
ASCAP also accelerated its Symphonic, Recital and Educational distribution to provide much-needed support to those composers and publishers whose livelihoods were especially impacted by the loss of live performance income in the Symphonic and Concert Music field.
“Music creators have no greater champion than ASCAP,” said ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams. “The ASCAP team worked extremely hard for our members for the second pandemic year, helping our community to stay healthy, creative, connected and financially stable during this time. Music gives us the gift of hope, which is so critical as we move forward. We forge ahead with our work in 2022 with inspiration and gratitude for the trust that our members place in us to enable their livelihoods, protect their rights and defend the value of music.”