Cable television, notably MTV, boomed in the Eighties, and ASCAP signed lucrative deals with the new networks. Musicians devoted themselves in unprecedented numbers to social concerns. To benefit victims of famine in Africa, ASCAP member Lionel Richie co-wrote "We Are the World" with Michael Jackson, with ASCAP member Quincy Jones producing. On Broadway, Marvin Hamlisch's A Chorus Line became the longest-running show in history.
Further uptown, a musical and cultural phenomenon erupted from the streets of the South Bronx, where rap music was born. New to ASCAP, LL Cool J "couldn't live without his radio" and the Beastie Boys "fought for the right to party." ASCAP members remain the dominant creative force in rap and hip hop.
ASCAP continued to welcome members from all genres of music – Aerosmith, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, James Horner, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Madonna, Wynton Marsalis, Reba McEntire, Metallica, Ednita Nazario, Randy Newman, Jorge Luis Piloto, Prince, Michael W. Smith and Melinda Wagner.
The 80's marked the end of one of ASCAP's longest legal battles, a challenge to the blanket license. The CBS lawsuit had been in the courts for eleven years. As with virtually every legal challenge in its near century-long history, ASCAP emerged victorious.