Actually, $2 billion is cool. ASCAP has hit over $1 billion in worldwide gross revenue for 2015, the second year in a row ASCAP exceed the $1 billion mark. US gross came in at an all-time high of $716.8 million, and US royalty distributions to ASCAP members were up 6.2% year over year to $573.5 million, also a record high.
It’s particularly remarkable that ASCAP was able to deliver these returns to songwriters and publishers when PROs are hobbled by the near-compulsory licenses in the antediluvian consent decrees imposed on songwriters by the US government. Given the expense of herding sheep, also known as the rate court cottage industry that drives rates in a race to the bottom and expenses up through the roof, this is quite a remarkable accomplishment. Not to mention the cost of hand holding the U.S. Department of Justice.
Songwriters with ex-US activity often get whipsawed by exchange rates when the dollar is strong, which isn’t something most people think about. Given that ex-US collections were off for this and other reasons, it’s particularly comforting that ASCAP was able to offset those declines with an increase in US revenue.
For more on the consent decrees, listen to Larry Miller’s Musinomics podcast “Songwriters, Consent and the Age of Discontent“.