ASCAP overcame the unprecedented hardships of the pandemic in 2020 to continue its record-breaking revenue streak, collecting more than $1.327 billion in revenues, a $53 million increase over 2019.
The PRO’s strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 helped to offset uncontrollable declines in other sectors, including a 30% decline in revenues from businesses that were hit the hardest during the last three quarters of 2020, such as live concerts and events, music venues, bars, clubs, restaurants, retail stores, hotels and more.
“2020 challenged all of us unlike any other year in modern history. It also defined ASCAP’s dedication to our members,” says ASCAP Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Matthews. “That meant strengthening our commitment to our mission to serve our songwriters, composers and music publishers by taking every step necessary to secure their livelihoods and careers. Inspired by our members each and every day, the ASCAP team proved that innovation, efficiency and progress really can be escalated in a crisis.”
2020 marked the sixth year of ASCAP’s strategic plan to transform its business and grow revenues. During the execution of the strategic plan from 2015 through 2020, ASCAP exceeded performance goals and drove ASCAP revenues to a 6% compound annual growth rate and ASCAP distributions to a 7% compound annual growth rate.
“I am so impressed by ASCAP and its extraordinary efforts in 2020,” says ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams. “The team worked extremely hard and under incredibly difficult circumstances to make up for revenues lost due to the pandemic and to deliver the financial security and support that music creators need to survive the crisis of our lifetime. Their work will have an impact for years to come and as an ASCAP member, I am deeply grateful. Together, we have met the demands of this challenging time period and we look to 2021 with greater hope and strength as a community.”
During a world crisis that directly affected revenues for many companies that license music, ASCAP grew royalties for its songwriter, composer and publisher members by $29 million, or 2.5%, for a total of $1.213 billion available for distributions. Domestic distributions from ASCAP-licensed and administered performances hit $891 million, an increase of $22 million, and foreign distributions totaled $322 million.
Due to the demands and difficulties of 2020 the ASCAP team met and transcended these issues, shining a brighter spotlight on its members and providing them with more resources to help weather the challenges of the time:
- ASCAP mobilized to deliver COVID relief through a major donation to MusiCares earmarked for its songwriters in need; fought for governmental COVID relief for music creators on the federal and state level; and launched Music Unites Us, a website to provide information on COVID resources for music creators.
- ASCAP rallied for racial and social justice through its Fight for Change resources page, by raising money for Color of Change and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, by establishing an annual internship program for HBCU students, by advocating for federal and state police reform bills, and through its ASCAP Citizen “GET OUT THE VOTE” campaign.
- ASCAP innovated toward greater transparency with the launch of SONGVIEW, a comprehensive data platform developed in partnership with BMI, which for the first time, enables ASCAP and BMI to display more detailed, authoritative and consistent copyright ownership data for performing rights for more than 20 million songs in their combined repertories.
- ASCAP adapted all of its major award shows, events and educational programs to virtual platforms, with participation from some of the world’s biggest music creators such as Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Diplo, DaBaby, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. The ASCAP Experience: Home Edition (formerly the ASCAP Expo) drew more than 10,000 registrants from 120 countries and featured conversations with award-winning music creators such as FINNEAS, Brothers Osborne, Brandy Clark, Shaggy, Michael R. Jackson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Hans Zimmer and more.
- ASCAP elected over 58,000 new members in 2020 and is now home to over 800,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, from the most successful names in music to those at the early stages of their careers.
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