Turning Performances Into Dollars
Every performance picked up in ASCAP's survey generates a certain number of credits. Each credit is worth a certain dollar value. The number of credits for each performance depends upon several factors, among them:
- HOW the music is used (feature, theme, background, etc.)
- WHERE the music is performed (network or local television, radio, cable, etc.)
- HOW much the licensee pays us
- The time of day of the performance (with respect to television and cable)
- The general licensing allocation applied to radio and television performances
If a song earns a certain threshold of radio feature performance credits in a quarter, additional credits are then added to that song's total credits as Radio Feature Premium payments. These payments recognize the increased value to the repertory of frequently performed songs.
Theme, underscore and feature performances in highly rated network, syndicated and local TV and cable series earn additional credits as TV Premium payments. These payments recognize the importance of these highly rated programs to the value of the repertory.
In the case of music used as underscoring in films and television programs, the length, or duration, of the work will affect the number of credits generated. In the case of live symphony and concert performances, the length, or duration, and the instrumentation will also affect the number of credits a particular performance will generate (full orchestra, chamber work, etc.)
Monies to writers and publishers are paid out in separate distributions covering the same performance periods. The dollar value of a performance credit is determined annually, taking into account the estimated total number of ASCAP credits being processed for writers or publishers and the total number of dollars available for distribution. A writer's or publisher's royalty check is determined by multiplying the number of credits they earned for performances of their works during a quarter by the dollar value of a credit for that quarter. For example, if a writer earned 10,000 credits for performances of her works on radio and television in a three-month period and the value of one writer credit was $7.50, the writer's royalty check would be $75,000 (10,000 X $7.50).
x $7.50 credit value
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