ASCAP Payment System

Identifying Performances

Every year, we get data on hundreds of billions of performances of ASCAP music. The way we collect all that data depends on the medium. We harness state-of-the-art digital technology to maximize the number of performances we track, and the number of ASCAP members we pay.

In every case, we design our surveys for efficiency in order to maximize the payments to our members.


Film & Television

For music written specifically for film or TV, we get all the information we need from cue sheets. Cue sheets list detailed information on all of the music in a particular film or program, including the writers and publishers, their respective royalty percentages, the length of the particular performance, and also the way the music is used (e.g., feature, theme, background). Cue sheets are typically submitted to ASCAP by the producer or music editor of the film or program in question.

Read more at Cue Sheet Corner.



ASCAP radio surveys involve sophisticated digital fingerprinting data, augmented by station logs provided by the radio stations and digital recordings of actual broadcasts. For most performances in our radio surveys, we get data from Nielsen, an advanced audio fingerprinting service that monitors the the terrestrial radio stations we license. We conduct a census of the songs identified by Nielsen and a sample survey of all other performances.  

ASCAP radio surveys cover all types and sizes of stations in every region of the country. We conduct separate surveys of country, Latin, jazz, urban contemporary, religious, classical, ethnic and pop stations. The revenues we collect from genre-specific stations are paid to the writers and publishers of music with performances on those stations.


Live Concerts

To compensate ASCAP writers and publishers for live performances of their music, we use set lists provided by our writer members via OnStage. We also survey all songs performed in the 300 top-grossing concert tours and selected major venues. For symphony, recital and educational concerts, we rely on printed programs submitted via Performance Notification.


Other Media

For performances on the internet, background music services and other media, ASCAP relies on electronic logs, playlists, program guides and cue sheets for the necessary performance information.