US performance rights society ASCAP has posted for the second year in a row revenues exceeding $1 billion, boosted by strong domestic financial results, offsetting a 14% decline in foreign collections, caused mostly by the strength of the dollar.
Domestic revenues hit an all-time high of $716.8 million, up 8.5% from 2014's $61m, with growth in across all major streams of revenues, including Audio/Visual, New Media, General Licensing and Radio. Foreign collections, at $298m, were down by 14.1% from 2014. Total revenues for 2014 reached $1.014bn, on par with 2014 results.
Overall, distributions to songwriters and publishers reached $867.4m in 2015, slightly down from $883m in 2014, but with distributions from domestic collections reaching an all time record of $573.5m, up 6.2% over 2014. The number of performances ASCAP tracked, matched and processed for payment in 2015 increased by 14% to 570bn.
ASCAP’s 12.3% operating expense ratio was described as "among the most efficient and lowest in performing rights." In a statement, ASCAP said that it "delivered the best value proposition in performing rights licensing, returning 88 cents of every dollar collected to music creators while supporting their careers through advocacy and professional development and investing in technology and innovation initiatives to offer enhanced services to members and licensees.”
ASCAP’s biggest songs of 2015 were The Weeknd’s Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey) written by Belly, Jason Quenneville and The Weeknd (all three affiliated with Canada’s SOCAN); Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s See You Again by ASCAP writers Andrew Cedar and DJ Frank E; and Walk The Moon’s Shut Up And Dance by ASCAP writers Ben Berger, Eli Maiman, Ryan McMahon, Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray and Sean Waugaman.
"ASCAP's superlative results mean we are doing the best job possible for our songwriter and composer members even as we advocate for changes to the outdated music licensing laws that disadvantage songwriters in the today’s digital world. These results are a testament to why the world’s most talented songwriters choose to call ASCAP home,” said ASCAP president Paul Williams.
ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews commented: “While the music industry is in the midst of tremendous change, ASCAP has stayed ahead of the curve with a strategic focus on revenue growth, operational efficiencies, technology and service innovations demonstrating that the collective licensing model delivers the best value proposition in the performing rights world.
"We are happy that we could deliver a 6.2% increase in domestic royalties to our members in 2015, and we remain committed to transforming into the most progressive operation ensuring that songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers can enjoy a sustainable living in today's music marketplace.”