A New Year's Message from ASCAP President Paul Williams
January 4, 2021
Dear ASCAP Member,
As we begin a new year, I want to thank you for continuing to create beautiful, healing, much-needed music throughout an unparalleled year of hardship, heartache, division and loss. Your music has been a light in the darkness, uniting and inspiring us, lifting our spirits and keeping us connected when we couldn’t be together in person.
In 2020, ASCAP members and your incredible music met this challenging moment and succeeded. You wrote and published #1 songs on 27 separate Billboard Year-End Charts, and broke numerous streaming and chart records. You earned the music industry’s highest honors, in every genre imaginable. You made Grammy history. You won Oscars and Golden Globes, CMAs and Pulitzer Prizes, daytime and primetime Emmys, Latin Grammys and World Soundtrack Awards. And so much more. Congratulations to every one of you whose music made a difference in so many of our lives this past year.
ASCAP is its members – a gloriously diverse family of music creators. And beyond the remarkable chart positions and accolades, our family came together like never before to make a real impact. We took strong action to support our community, protect our rights as music creators, boost participation in the 2020 election and create a lasting, much-needed transformation in how we treat each other.
ASCAP fought hard in Congress for COVID-19 relief measures that would help our members. We launched our Music Unites Us website to share vital resources to help our members weather the pandemic and we also offered financial support through a major donation to MusiCares to help our songwriters and composers in need.
We continued to lead the fight to defend the value of music and protect the rights of music creators in our nation’s capital. We participated in a workshop on the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees, hosted by the Department of Justice, where we made the case for why these decades-old regulations need to be updated for the modern music marketplace.
We launched ASCAP Citizen, in partnership with HeadCount, to inspire music creators and fans to vote in the 2020 election, in a campaign that featured original content from top ASCAP members from all genres of music.
We created our Fight for Change initiative, matching ASCAP employee donations to Color of Change and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and working for racial justice and police reform bills on the federal and state levels.
2020 witnessed a major Supreme Court victory for the rights of LGBTQ employees, and ASCAP was proud to contribute to this landmark decision. We joined more than 200 companies and organizations to file a “friend of the court” brief urging the Court to rule that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. We were thrilled to be a small part of this historic move toward equity in the workplace.
We broke new ground with the launch of Songview, a comprehensive data platform developed in partnership with BMI, which enables ASCAP and BMI to now display more detailed, authoritative and consistent copyright ownership data for performing rights for works in the ASCAP and BMI repertories, all in one place for the very first time. This represents a huge step forward toward greater transparency for the music industry.
Fostering new music remains at the heart of ASCAP’s mission. And in 2020, we reimagined how we could accomplish that in an online world. We shifted many of our songwriter and composer support programs to a virtual format, including our annual music creator conference, The ASCAP Experience, with more than 10,000 registered participants from over 120 different countries. I am grateful for all of you who participated.
As we turn the page on 2020 and look forward to a new year of recovery, possibility and change, one thing remains clear. Your music reminds us of who we are and what we are capable of. When you take what is in your heart – your passion, creativity and devotion – and put it into your music, you can transform the world.
Thank you for being an ASCAP member. I wish you and your family much health, peace of mind and good fortune in 2021.
Happy New Year!