A Message from Paul Williams on the DOJ's Review of the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

January 15, 2021

I am writing to you with important news for our ASCAP community of songwriters, composers and music publishers. Nearly two years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a formal review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. Today, the DOJ officially closed its review and announced it would take no action to modify or terminate the decrees at this time.
 
You can read the joint letter that ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews and BMI CEO Mike O’Neill sent to the music community here.
 
As many of you know, ASCAP has long advocated for modernizing our 80-year-old consent decree. And while we were disappointed that no action was taken, we are encouraged to see the DOJ announcement acknowledge truths we have long understood: that songwriters are the backbone of the music industry, that collective licensing provides great benefits to music creators and licensees alike, that market-based solutions are the answer – not compulsory licensing, and that songwriters must be paid fairly.
 
One quote in the DOJ’s closing statement stood out to me in particular: “Without songwriters and their creative genius, there would be no music, let alone an entire music industry.”
 
This is what we have been saying all along.
 
This is progress. It is enormously important in terms of how the government approaches our issues moving forward. And it is only possible, thanks to all of the ASCAP members who poured their blood, sweat and tears into sharing their experiences with the DOJ during this process. You made a difference for every single songwriter and composer in America.
 
As we look ahead, know that ASCAP will always be in your corner – celebrating your music, advocating for your rights, and making sure your voice is heard. Our commitment to continuous innovation and defending the value of your music will never waiver.
 
Thank you for being part of our ASCAP family, and keep the music coming. 
Paul Williams
Paul Williams

Open Letter from ASCAP and BMI in Response to Closing of DOJ Consent Decree Review