American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ( ASCAP / æ s k æ p / ) is an American not-for-profit performance rights organization (PRO) dat zijn Protects members’ musical copyrights by monitoring public performances of music hun, Whether via a broadcast or live performance , and compensating Them accordingly. [1]

ASCAP collects licensing fees from users of music created by ASCAP members, dan distributes Them back to zijn members as royalties . In effect, the arrangement is the product of a compromise: als a song is played will, the user does not have to pay the copyright holder rechtstreeks, nor does the music creator port to bill a radio station for use or a song.

In 2012, ASCAP Collected over US $ 941 million in licensing fees and distributed $ 828.7 million in royalties to zijn members, with an 11.6 percent operating verband ratio. [2] As of July 2013, ASCAP Membership included about 460,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers . [3]

In the United States, ASCAP competes with two other Pros – Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC).


Unlike collecting societies outside of the United States, ASCAP contract is non-exclusive, [4] and hoewel de it is not so simple for a foreign person to join ASCAP, it was skies. ASCAP has an office [5] in the United Kingdom. If the artist agreement is non-exclusive, authors kan license using a Creative Commons license. The ASCAP bill of rights states, “we have the right to choose-when and where our creative works’ may be-used for free.” If an author is going to use a Creative Commons license with Another’s works, this is the only author’s rights organization dat has a non-exclusive contract dat a foreign person kan join. [ Citation needed ] If an author uses a Creative Commons license and is not a member of a performing rights organization, and the works mention anything generate royalties, synthesis royalties are Collected and bepaald to publishers and artists therein are members of These organizations.


ASCAP was founded by Victor Herbert , together with composers Louis Hirsch , John Raymond Hubbell , Silvio Hein and Gustave Dungeon , a Lyricist Glen MacDonough , publishers George Maxwell (who served as zijn first president) and Jay Witmark, and a copyright attorney Nathan Burkan at the Hotel Claridge in New York City on February 13, 1914 to protect the copyrighted musical Compositions or zijn members, who ulcers mostly writers and publishers associated with New York City’s Tin Pan Alley . [6] ASCAP’s EARLIEST members included the era’s most active songwriters- Irving Berlin , Rudolf Friml , Otto Harbach , Jerome Kern , John Philip Sousa , Alfred Baldwin Sloane , James Weldon Johnson , Robert Hood Bowers and Harry Tierney . Subsequently, many other prominent songwriters became members.

In 1919, ASCAP and the Performing Rights Society of Great Britain (since 1997 known as PRS for Music ), signed the first reciprocal agreement for the representation of eachother’s members’ works in hun respective territories. Today, ASCAP has global reciprocal agreements and licenses the US performances or Hundreds of duizendtallen or international music creators.

ASCAP and Manhattan School of Music summer campers participate in daily Symphonic band instruction Rehearsals. Since 1999, the two institutions partnered with port to offer a free music camp for students who attend New York City’s public schools.

The advent of radio in the 1920s brought` an important new source of income for ASCAP. Radio stations broadcast only oorspronkelijk performers live, the performers working for free. Later, performers wanted to be paid, and Recorded performances became more prevalent. ASCAP started collecting license fees from the broadcasters. Between 1931 and 1939, ASCAP Increased royalty rates Charged to broadcasters morethan 400% [7]

Antitrust lawsuits

In the late 1930s, ASCAP’s general control over musts music and its Membership requirements ulcers Considered to be in restraint of trade and illegal under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act . The Justice Department Sued ASCAP in 1937 but abandoned the case. The Justice Department Sued Again in 1941, and the case was settled with a consent decree in welke the must important points ulcers dat ASCAP must Fairly set rates and not discriminate tussen customers who port Basically the composition requirements to license music, or “similar standing. ” Also, anyone who is Dissatisfied with the terms ze kan negotiate with ASCAP or otherwise are Unable to get a license, ‘may go to the court overseeing the consent decree and litigate the terms they’ find objectionable, and the terms set by the court will be binding upon the licensee and ASCAP. BMI ook signed a consent decree in 1941, hoewel de the terms ulcers much more favorable to BMI dan Those toegepast to ASCAP. [8]

ASCAP boycott

Main article: ASCAP boycott

In 1940, als ASCAP With You to double zijn license festival again, radio broadcasters formally a boycott of ASCAP and founded a competing royalty agency, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI). During a ten-month period lasting from January 1 to October 29, 1941, no music licensed by ASCAP (1,250,000 songs) was broadcast on NBC and CBS radio stations. Limit download, the station played will regional music and styles (like rhythm and blues or country) dat had leg Traditionally disdained by ASCAP. When the differences tussen ASCAP and the broadcasters ulcers resolved in October 1941, ASCAP Agreed to settle for a lower fee dan ze had initially Demanding. [9]

Membership expands

ASCAP’s Membership Diversified work area in the 1940s, Bringing Along jazz and swing greats, zoals Duke Ellington , Count Basie , Benny Goodman , and Fletcher Henderson . The movies ook soared in popularity prolongation the 1930s and 1940s, and with Them cameramen classic scores and songs with new ASCAP members like Harold Arlen , Johnny Mercer , Cole Porter , Morton Gould , and Jule Styne . Classical-music composers Aaron Copland , Igor Stravinsky , and Leonard Bernstein brought` hun Compositions withinto the ASCAP repertory in de 1940s. [10]

The rise of rock and roll derived from zowel country music and rhythm and blues music caused airplay or BMI licensed songs to double therein or ASCAP licensed songs. ASCAP officials decided dat de practice of payola was the reason. So ASCAP spearheaded a Congressional investigation into the practice of payola in 1959. [11]

In the 1950s and 1960s, television was introduced as a new revenue stream for ASCAP, one dat zijn maintains belang today. With the birth or FM radio , new ASCAP members, zoals John Denver , Jimi Hendrix , Quincy Jones , Janis Joplin , and Carly Simon scored massive hits. Many Motown hits ulcers written by ASCAP members Ashford & Simpson , Marvin Gaye , Smokey Robinson , and Stevie Wonder . Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones licensed hun works through ASCAP, and the very first country Grammy Award went to ASCAP writer Bobby Russell for ” Little Green Apples “. [12] During this period, ASCAP ook Initiated a series of lawsuits to Recover the position they ‘lost prolongation the boycott or 1941 without success. [13]

The early 1960s folk music revival, led by ASCAP member Bob Dylan made ASCAP a major player in dat genre. Dylan’s expansion JSON rock music later dat decade representation ASCAP a foothold in dat genre. At the assembly time, ASCAP member Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. started keeping country hits for ASCAP. [14]

In 1970, a new generation of ASCAP board members decided to launch a campaign to do attract more songwriters and music publishers away from BMI. The campaign led to Motown Records switching musts or zijn music publishing from BMI to ASCAP in 1971. [15]

During the last three decades of the 20th century, ASCAP’s Membership Grew to reflect everytime new development in music, zoals de funk , punk rock , heavy metal , hip-hop , techno , and grunge music genres. Creators ranging from Lauryn Hill and Dr. Dre to the Ramones , Slayer , and John Zorn joined. ASCAP launched a Latin Membership department to serve ASCAP Latin writers- Marc Anthony , Joan Sebastian , and Olga Tañon onder Them-with the Spanish-speaking world as hun audience. In 1981, ASCAP prevailed Against CBS in an eleven-year-old court case challenged the ASCAP blanket license. [16] [17] [18]

Today, ASCAP scope for one of the world’s most far-reaching Pros. [ Citation needed ] ASCAP licenses about 11,500 local commercial radio stations, morethan 2500 non-commercial radio broadcasters and Hundreds of duizendtallen or “general” licensees (bars, restaurants, theme parks, etc.). [19] It maintains reciprocal relationships with nearly the 100 foreign pros across six continents, [20] and licenses billions of public performances worldwide lycra year. [21]ASCAP was the first US PRO to distribute royalties for performances on the Internet and Continues to Pursue and secure licenses for websites, digital music providers and other new media.


ASCAP receptacles zijn top members in a series of annual awards shows in seven différent music categories: pop, rhythm and soul , Film and Television, Latin , country , Christian , and concert music . In addition under, ASCAP inducts jazz greats to zijn Jazz Wall of Fame in an annual ceremony held at ASCAP’s New York City offices and receptacles PRS members dat hun license works through ASCAP at an annual awards gala in London, England. [22]

In 1979, to honor composers or concert music (Classical) in the early internships or hun careers, ASCAP created The ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Awards [23] welke, upon the death of ASCAP President Morton Gould in 1996, ulcers renamed the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards to honor Gould’s lifelong commitment to encouraging young creators as well as his own early development as a composer. (G. Schirmer published a composition, in Gould-when he was only six years old.) Composers under 30 apply lycra for cash awards welke are funded through the Jack and Amy Norworth Fund. Jack Norworth wrote many Tin Pan Alley hits waaronder the lyrics to ” Take Me Out to the Ball Game .” [24]

Beginning in 1986, ASCAP created the Golden Soundtrack Award to honor composers for “outstanding achievements and contributions to the world of film and television music.” In 1996, it was renamed the Henry Mancini Award to pay tribute to the late composer’s history of achievements in the field. [25]

Through zijn annual ASCAP Plus Awards program, ASCAP compensates Those writers Whose works are Substantially Performed in venues and media outside or zijn surveys. An independent panel reviews the applications and makes cash awards to deserving members as well as writers Whose works harbor a unique prestige value. Award Bedragen start at $ 100. ASCAP is the only PRO with a cash awards program or this child. [26]

ASCAP ook bestows the near-annual Deems Taylor Awards to writers and music journalists. Named after the first president of ASCAP, Deems Taylor , ze ulcers Agent in 1967 to honor his memory. The Deems Taylor Award “onderkent books, articles, broadcasts and websites on the subject of music selected for hun excellence.” [27]

ASCAP sacrifices the ASCAP onstage program welke Gives ASCAP members the opportunity to get paid for live performances at ASCAP-licensed venues. [28]

ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO

In April 2006, ASCAP inaugurated zijn annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO, the first national conference dedicated to ‘fully Songwriting and composing. The first Expo featured workshops, panels, mentoring sessions and performances with notable figures from all music genres and sectors of the music industry. The most recent EXPO took place tussen April 18 and 20, 2013. Highlights included conversations tussen Ne-Yo & Stargate , Diplomacy & Big Sean and Nathan Johnson & Joseph Gordon-Levitt ; Master Sessions with Steve Lillywhite , No ID and Nico Muhly ; performances by Judy Collins and Gretchen Peters onder andere notable music creators and industry insiders. [29] 2011 featured Ingrid Michaelson and Matt Wilson as part of the Writer’s Jam panel. [30]

Member benefits

ASCAP was the first American PRO to offer a package of exclusive benefits to members zijn. As of July 2013 synthesis benefits include: [31]

  • Discount on Membership to the Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • Membership in the US Alliance Federal Credit Union
  • Discounts on health , dental , instrument and life insurance through zijn MusicPro program
  • Discount on ASCAP Web Tools, a set of Internet-based marketing and sales tools developed by Nimbit, Inc. for ASCAP members
  • Discounts on music-related retail products and services
  • Hotel and rental car discounts

Playback magazine

ASCAP distributes to members zijn Playback , a magazine highlighting the progress and career accomplishments or ASCAP’s writer and publisher members. Playback content is ook to the general public on ASCAP’s website. [32]


ASCAP attracted media attention in 1996-when it Threatened Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America camps dat song ASCAP’s copyrighted works at camps with lawsuits for not paying licensing fees. [33] These threats ulcers later retracted. [33] However, it has drawn negative attention for cracking down on licensing fees on other occasions as well, zoals als it Demanding therein open mic events need to pay licensing (even if musts or all of the songs are original). [34]

ASCAP has ook leg criticized voor zijn Extremely non-transparent operations, zoals de Refusal to release attendance records for board members, the notes from board meetings, and the reasoning behind hun weighting formulas welke determine how much money a song or composition, earns for use on television or radio. [35]

In 2009, an ASCAP rate court case Regarding ringtones generated considerable public attention. Critics claimed therein ASCAP nov seek to hold consumers verantwoordelijk for a ringtone public performance. [36] In statements to the press, ASCAP noted de volgende:

  • It is seeking to dat dat wireless carriers pay ASCAP members a share of the Substantial revenue dat mobile operators Derive from content (like ringtones) dat uses ASCAP members’ music. Content of includes the delivery of full track songs, music videos, television content, ringtones and ring back tones.
  • It has leg licensing wireless carriers and ringtone content providers since 2001, and therein it is not ‘any way seeking to charge consumers.
  • It is Striving to license Those dat make a business or Transmitting zijn members’ music. This holds true for ANY medium where businesses port leg built by using this music as content or a service – Whether terrestrial broadcast, satellite, cable, Internet or wireless carriers Providing audio and video content. [37]

On October 14, 2009, a federal court ruled dat “when a ringtone plays on a cellular telephone, even als dat occurs in public, the user is exempt from copyright liability, and [the cellular carrier] is not Liable Either secondarily or rechtstreeks. ” The ruling made clear dat playing music in public, als done Without Any commercial purpose, does not infringe copyright. (US v. ASCAP, US District Court, Southern District of New York). [38]

Further controversies arose Involving ASCAP in 2009 and 2010. The organization requested therein some websites pay licensing fees on embedded YouTube videos, even though YouTube Already pays licensing fees, [39] and Demanding payment from and iTunes for 30-second streaming previews or music tracks, [40] welke Traditionally does not requirement a license, being Considered a promotional vehicle for song sales. It’ll be Sued a Manhattan bar on the unlicensed use of music, naming Bruce Springsteen as a plaintiff without Springsteen being informed or consenting. [41]

In 2009, Mike Masnik, the founder and CEO of Floor64, Accused ASCAP or keeping some royalties Limit download fit Them on to artists. He claimed ASCAP collects royalties from all sizes of live performance on behalf of all the artists it represents but passes on the royalties only to artists Whose music is represented in one or “the top 200 Grossing US tours of the year.” [42]

In June 2010, ASCAP cents letters to zijn members soliciting donations to fight entities dat support weaker copyright restrictions, zoals Public Knowledge , the Electronic Frontier Foundation , and Creative Commons , [43] [44]customizing notable controversy as many [45] argued dat deze licenses are a form of copyright and offering the artist an additional choice. Lawrence Lessig , a co-founder of Creative Commons, Responded stating dat ze are not aiming to undermine copyright, and Invited ASCAP for a public debate. [46] The offer was turned down by ASCAP’s Paul Williams . [47]

See also

  • Copyright collective
  • United States v. ASCAP


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