ASCAP is member owned. ASCAP is the only performing rights organization in the U.S. created and controlled by composers, lyricists, songwriters and music publishers. Our Board of Directors is made up entirely of writers and publishers elected from and by the membership every two years. Writer members elect 12 writers to sit on the Board, and publisher members elect 12 publishers. This Board elects a President and Chairman, who has traditionally been a writer. The ASCAP Board knows the needs of the members first-hand and they represent no other special interest group. The Board has a clear agenda — to provide the fairest and highest level of payments, the best service and the best copyright protection for the membership. To achieve these objectives, the Board relies on an exceptional staff of experienced business professionals to manage ASCAP's operations.
ASCAP collects significantly more money from music users for performing rights than any other organization in the world. Every penny we collect, less operating costs, is distributed to our members. More than 88¢ of each dollar we collect goes right back to our members in royalties. That is the highest distribution ratio in the U.S.
ASCAP pays faster. Royalty checks go out eight times a year: four distributions cover performances in the United States and four cover foreign performances. ASCAP has accelerated domestic royalty payments, with writers and publishers receiving full payment approximately six months after a performance quarter. Our four foreign distributions, in February, May, August and November, also ensure that our members receive foreign royalties as quickly as possible. (See Distribution Dates for a current payment schedule.)
ASCAP leads in securing rights for our members by actively licensing more music users and negotiating the best license fees.
ASCAP is the first U.S. performing rights organization to distribute royalties for performances on the Internet and has been a leader in licensing websites and new media. We have developed strategic alliances with leading technology companies to maintain our leadership in copyright protection in the digital world.
ASCAP has developed many technological innovations that have set international standards for performance identification, such as MediaGuide, the most comprehensive and accurate performance tracking system using advanced "fingerprinting" technology.
ASCAP’s books are open to all. ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization to provide full financial disclosure to our members and the public.
ASCAP helps new writers. We offer a wide variety of songwriter workshops, showcase programs, scholarships, grants and awards to help writers in the early stages of their careers. (See Career Development:
Workshops, Showcases and Support for details.)
ASCAP’s distribution system is based on fairness and openness. All similar performances are similarly credited. The newest member is treated on the same level as the most established member. Our members are paid based on performances, not who they are. ASCAP members know how they are being paid. Royalties are determined objectively over their entire copyright life and not by discretionary voluntary payments, short-term special deals or management favoritism. Payment changes must be approved by the Board of Directors, elected by and from the membership. No changes in royalty rates are made arbitrarily without notice to the membership, as they are at other performing rights organizations.
ASCAP members have a voice. ASCAP is the only performing rights organization to hold an annual membership meeting during which members have the opportunity to learn about our operation from the president and staff, to ask questions and to voice concerns. ASCAP members also participate in the affairs of the Society by serving on a variety of committees, such as the Symphony and Concert Committee; Latin Music Council; Commercial, Promotional, Announcement (CPA) Advisory Committee; the Board of Review; and others.
ASCAP fights harder for your rights than any other group. ASCAP is, and has always been, the pioneer in fighting for the rights of music creators in Congress and in the courts. We lead efforts to protect our members’ rights by vigorously opposing legislation that is harmful to creators, and by initiating changes to the Copyright Law that will benefit creators. We always keep you informed of legislative matters that affect you, and we encourage your involvement in our efforts.
ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization to offer a Member Card with a full-range of benefits and discounts created to make the life of the working music professional a little easier. (See Member Benefits for details.)