Facts and FAQs for ASCAP Members Regarding YouTube Settlement Payments

In June, ASCAP announced a multi-year agreement with YouTube for performance rights and data collaboration. The agreement achieved two important ASCAP goals – it will yield higher overall payments to ASCAP from YouTube and the agreement will propel ASCAP’s ongoing transformation strategy to lead the industry toward more accurate and reliable data. As part of the agreement, YouTube also agreed to make settlement payments to ASCAP for past periods when they were paying ASCAP lower fees on an interim basis.

The YouTube settlement payments will cover the period January 2013 – December 2016.
The settlement monies will be paid in two installments, as follows:

  • 2017 September Publisher/October Writer Distribution
  • 2018 March Publisher/April Writer Distributions.

Who will receive YouTube Settlement Payments?
Members who received distributions from ASCAP for your performances on YouTube during the period January 2013 through December 2016 will be paid additional monies for those performances, as long as the additional amount is $5 or more for a work. We want to keep our processing costs low in order to distribute as much settlement money as possible to members. The performances will appear on your statements under the heading YouTube Settlement 2013–2016 – Audio Performances. 

Also, for the first time, we are striving to compensate you for performances that are unidentifiable by YouTube, such as film and television shows. Given the lack of performance information, we are using as a proxy the broadcast and cable TV distributions made during the 2013 through 2016 performance period, again subject to a $5 threshold per work. Your earnings will appear on your statement under the heading YouTube Settlement 2013-2016 - Proxy A/V Perfs.

What will the payout per play be for my settlement royalties?
Your per-play payout for audio performances will vary according to the license fees and play counts we received from YouTube when these performances initially occurred, which vary from quarter to quarter. Your settlement royalty payments for audio performances are based on the same January 2013 - December 2016 performance data that ASCAP already processed through our distribution system.

Keep in mind, the retroactive money you receive from our YouTube settlement is over and above what you have already been paid for those same performances, and our agreement with YouTube substantially increases the aggregate amount of revenue collected from YouTube for ASCAP-licensed music going forward.

Why is ASCAP using a proxy for films and TV shows?
As part of our retroactive settlement with YouTube, for the first time, we will distribute royalties for ASCAP music contained in audio-visual (A/V) content, such as films and TV shows - what YouTube calls “General Entertainment.” Because YouTube cannot give us specific performance information for A/V content, we are using our broadcast and cable TV distributions during the 2013 through 2016 period as a proxy for distribution.

Where can I find the money from the retroactive settlement on my ASCAP statements?
Retroactive payments for audio-only performances on YouTube will appear on your statement under the heading YouTube Settlement 2013–2016 – Audio Performances. Your earnings for performances of audio/visual content will appear as a sum total on your statement under the heading YouTube Settlement 2013-2016 - Proxy A/V Perfs.  

I write and self-publish my music. Will I receive YouTube settlement royalties from ASCAP for both my publishing and writer shares?
Absolutely. The settlement distribution is based on the credited works, so royalties will be divided based on the share ownership of each work included in the distribution.

I resigned and moved my works to another PRO. Will I receive any YouTube settlement money from ASCAP, even though I am no longer a member?
ASCAP will pay retroactive settlement monies to resigned members for those performances ASCAP processed only during those quarters within the retroactive settlement period when your music was still part of the ASCAP repertory.

My publisher entered into a direct license with YouTube during the settlement period.  Am I entitled to any additional royalties?
Direct-licensed works may receive retroactive royalties from ASCAP, but only for the period that they were still part of the ASCAP repertory. As for performances after your publisher entered into a direct deal, you will need to contact your publisher regarding that question.