The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the only performing rights organization in the US that operates on a not-for-profit basis, today announced that its 2022 annual revenue surpassed $1.5 billion for the first time, which fueled record-high royalty distributions to ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members. Collections totaled $1.522 billion in 2022, an increase of $187 million or 14% over the previous year.
ASCAP’s strategic growth plan, focused on revenue growth, technological innovation and operational efficiency, continues to benefit its members. Launched in 2015, the strategy has resulted in a 6% compound annual growth rate for total revenues, and a 7% compound annual growth rate for total distributions to members, demonstrating the health and resiliency of the ASCAP business even during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, ASCAP grew every major category of licensing to drive ASCAP domestic revenue to $1.178 billion, up 16.5%, an increase of $167 million over 2021. General licensing revenue increased by 40%, radio by 32%, audio streaming by 16% and audio-visual by 7%. This was the second year that ASCAP domestic revenues from US-licensed performances topped $1 billion.
In 2022, royalty distributions to ASCAP members exceeded $1 billion for the sixth year in a row and increased 10.7% over 2021, with a total of $1.388 billion available for distribution to ASCAP’s music creator and publisher members. In 2022, ASCAP maintained its status as one of the most efficient PROs in the world, delivering 90 cents of every dollar back to its members as royalties.
Total funds available for domestic distributions of ASCAP US-licensed and administered performances crossed $1 billion for the first time, totaling $1.048 billion in 2022, a 14.9% increase of $136 million over 2021.
Revenues from foreign societies were $344 million, up 6.3% over 2021, despite challenges due to foreign currency exchange volatility, with international distributions totaling $340 million.
ASCAP identified, matched and processed trillions of musical performances in 2022, and returned a higher royalty rate to members in each successive quarter as a direct result of ASCAP’s success in monetizing the value of its members’ music.
“It is our technical innovation coupled with an unparalleled work ethic that grew our domestic revenue 16.5% in 2022 and yielded a 6% compound annual growth rate since the inception of our strategic plan eight years ago. ASCAP is the only US PRO that operates on a not-for-profit basis which is a key differentiator among PROs. ASCAP creator and publisher members are the sole beneficiaries of this growth because we invested years ago in cloud computing, enabling us to address the challenges of digital streaming efficiently, and because we only pay songwriters and publishers, not private investors,” commented ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews.
“We are elated to share these historic financial revenue and distribution results for 2022 with our songwriter, composer and publisher members, who are the foundation of the music we all love,” said ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams. “In the US, we have competition, meaning that creators have a choice, and that choice should be ASCAP. It is in ASCAP’s DNA to ensure that we operate in the best interest of all our members. Our financial success for over 100 years, and a singular commitment to nurture their careers and maximize the value of their music, prove that our not-for-profit model of collective licensing works.”
ASCAP Year in Review
ASCAP continued to host innovative virtual versions of its 2022 awards shows on @ASCAP social media, as well as broadcasting 14 ASCAP Experience sessions online. Top ASCAP members participated, including Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Baby, Ashanti, Camilo, Dua Lipa collaborator Sarah Hudson, mega producers Poo Bear, Tommy Brown and Mr. Franks, hit screen composers Carter Burwell, Siddhartha Khosla, Germaine Franco and Natalie Holt, and LeAnn Rimes, who was presented with the ASCAP Golden Note Award.
Through virtual programming, ASCAP brought expert advice from A-list songwriters and composers on collaboration, the creative process and inspiration to an ever-expanding audience of aspiring music creators. After already seeing major virtual ASCAP Experience audience growth in 2021, viewership in 2022 continued to increase, by approximately 15% over 2021.
The most popular ASCAP Experience session was “NFTs: What Every Music Creator Needs to Know,” programmed by The ASCAP Lab, an initiative that explores how advanced technologies, new business approaches and creative collaborations can drive value for ASCAP members and licensees. The ASCAP Lab also hosted its third annual music and technology challenge with NYC Media Lab. An ASCAP Experience “demo day” session, “Music in the Metaverse: 4 Startups Shaping Our New (Extended) Reality,” featured selected teams exploring new ways to create and experience music, express digital identity through music, and connect music creators and fans in the metaverse.
The ASCAP Citizen program, established to empower music creators to help shape our democracy, shifted into gear in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections. ASCAP members drove voter awareness by recording and sharing videos encouraging their communities to vote, and ASCAP employees volunteered with HeadCount in New York City on National Voter Registration Day. In 2022, with the help of partners like ASCAP, HeadCount registered 200K+ new voters.
ASCAP continued to bring health, fitness and wellbeing resources to members with the industry-leading ASCAP Wellness Program, along with regular editorial features on wellness tailored to music creators’ needs.
ASCAP returned to hosting in-person events in late 2022, with intimate gatherings for top country, pop, Latin and film/TV composer members to celebrate their achievements and foster connections and networking. December wrapped up with an exclusive song camp in Miami co-hosted by Timbaland and BeatClub.
ASCAP welcomed over 39,000 new members in 2022 and is now home to more than 900,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, from the most successful names in music to those at the early stages of their careers.