Advocacy @ ASCAP

As technology transforms the music landscape, ASCAP is on the frontlines of the fight to protect the rights of music creators and defend the value of music.#StandWithSongwriters

DOJ Consent Decree Review

Two years ago, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would conduct a review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. On January 15, 2021, the DOJ announced it had formally closed its review and will take no action to modify or terminate the decrees at this time.

ASCAP has long advocated for modernizing our decades-old decrees. And while we were disappointed that no action was taken, we are encouraged to see the DOJ announcement acknowledge truths we have long understood: Songwriters are the backbone of the music industry and must be paid fairly; blanket licensing is incredibly efficient; ASCAP and BMI are innovating to serve the needs of the industry; marketplace solutions are the answer – not compulsory licensing; and the value of music is best decided in a free market. As the marketplace continues to evolve, ASCAP’s commitment to continuous innovation and defending the value of our members’ music will never waiver.

ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews and BMI President/CEO Mike O'Neill joint response to DOJ closing statement on consent decrees

A message from Paul Williams on DOJ consent decree review

Be an ASCAP Citizen.

Your music has the power to change the world, and so does your vote. Join the ASCAP Citizen campaign to make sure you're exercising your right to be heard in our democracy, and help encourage others to do the same.

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Latest Advocacy News

ASCAP Calls on States to Fast-Track Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation Program to Benefit Music Creators

In the latest federal aid package, Congress added $100/week for the nearly one million “Mixed Earners'' -- many of them music creators -- who were unintentionally left behind by the CARES Act, receiving artificially low weekly unemployment benefits.

An Open Letter from ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews and BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill in Response to the DOJ Closing Statement on the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would conduct a review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees to determine if they still served their intended purpose. Today, the DOJ has formally closed its review and will take no action to modify or terminate the decrees but left open the possibility of changes in the future.

ASCAP Applauds Congress for Passing Bipartisan Relief Package

In an essential and highly anticipated holiday miracle, this week Congress overwhelmingly passed a massive COVID-19 relief package and government funding bill, including the extension of unemployment benefits and PPP loans and a $15 billion provision to help save the live entertainment industry.

ASCAP Calls on Biden Administration to Include Leaders Who Understand and Support Music Creators

ASCAP joins the music community in welcoming the Biden Administration in a joint letter calling for the incoming leadership to include individuals who understand and support the needs of music creators and the importance of protecting IP. In the wake of a global pandemic and an ever-evolving digital marketplace, the organizations emphasize the crucial role the next four years will play in determining the future of the music industry.

ASCAP and Other Music Industry Leaders Unite Again to Ask Congress to Provide Relief from Toll of Pandemic

As part of a united music community effort, ASCAP joined other music industry leaders in sending a letter urging Congress to pass legislation to provide additional relief desperately needed by the many songwriters, artists, musicians, engineers, producers and venues who bring live music to life.

ASCAP Citizen Seeks to Inspire Music Creators and Fans to Vote

In partnership with HeadCount, the new campaign will feature content from top ASCAP members from The Go-Gos, Taking Back Sunday, The National, Brothers Osborne and Avenue Beat, along with Jermaine Dupri, Ingrid Michaelson, mxmtoon, Donna Missal and more, promoting National Voter Registration Day

Remarks from ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews to DOJ Workshop on Competition in the Licensing of Public Performance Rights in the Music Industry (July 28, 2020)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) held a virtual public workshop on July 28 and 29, 2020, to discuss competition in the licensing of public performance rights in the music industry. ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews spoke at the proceedings on behalf of ASCAP.

ASCAP Calls on Congress to Stand With Songwriters Who Need Access to Critical Benefits in the Next Stimulus Package

Today, ASCAP joined other US music industry leaders in a letter urging Congress to ensure that critical benefits like unemployment insurance, disaster loans and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are extended to self-employed individuals and small businesses in the next government stimulus package. These programs have provided much-needed relief to songwriters and composers during the pandemic, and it is clear additional help is needed.

ASCAP Joins 20 US Music Industry Leaders in a Letter Asking Congress to Support the RESTART Act

ASCAP joined 20 US music industry leaders in a letter asking Congress to support the RESTART Act because independent music venues are vital to songwriters’ livelihoods, and they need help to survive.

ASCAP Joins Leading Music and Film Organizations to Call on Congress to Fix Safety Net in New CARES Act

ASCAP and several other entertainment industry organizations sent a joint letter to leaders of Congress, highlighting the ways the implementation of the CARES Act has fallen short in assisting workers in need in the entertainment community and requesting that these flaws be remedied in a new CARES Act COVID-19 relief package

ASCAP Joins Music Groups Calling on Government to Include Royalties in Unemployment Benefits Calculations for Musicians

ASCAP and several other music industry organizations sent a joint letter to US Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, urging his department to provide states with guidance around the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which would make unemployment benefits more accessible to self-employed musicians and allow them to include royalties in the income base on which these benefits are calculated.

Performing Rights Organizations Join MusiCares® and the Recording Academy® in Support of COVID-19 Relief Fund

While the COVID-19 Relief Fund was created to help all music industry workers in need, the funds collected from the PROs, including ASCAP, will be focused on helping their respective songwriters, composers and lyricists.

ASCAP Applauds Passage of The CARES Act: Statements

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed and President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion emergency relief bill that provides economic assistance for businesses and individuals affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It includes provisions that may help music creators who are self-employed, independent contractors and those who own or work for small businesses.

FAQ: What ASCAP Members Affected by the Coronavirus Crisis Should Know About Economic Stimulus & Relief Programs

In an effort to help you quickly understand how the US government's response to the coronavirus pandemic may impact you as a music creator and a business owner, we have prepared the following FAQ. These questions and answers will be updated as the situation develops and more information about government assistance programs is available.

A Message from Paul Williams on Federal Emergency Relief Package

Today, the president signed an historic $2.2 trillion emergency relief package containing much of the financial assistance and relief that we requested for our members, including some notable provisions to help music creators who are self-employed, independent contractors and those who own or work for small businesses.

ASCAP Joins Songwriter Organizations to Call on Congress to Provide Music Creator Assistance During Pandemic

ASCAP has teamed up with songwriter organizations including BMI, NMPA, NSAI, SESAC, SGA and SONA on sending a joint letter to Congress, urging legislators to include relief for music creators as they roll out stimulus packages and pandemic assistance legislation in the coming weeks and months.

ASCAP Advocacy in the Press

  • Morning Consult: Protect the Creators of the Soundtracks to Our Lives (Op-Ed)

  • The Post and Courier: Music consent decree review could help SC songwriters (Letter to the Editor)

  • Morning Consult: No Need to Panic – Songwriters Just Want Fairness (Op-Ed)

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ASCAP does a wonderful job of trying to make the powers that be see that for songwriters, it can be tough to make a living. We’re not all the big shots. We’re the people that are in the trenches everyday writing the songs that make up radio. ASCAP does a great job of getting our rights protected and keeping them protected.

— Brett James