May 05, 2015

ASCAP Leaders Provide “State of the Union” and a Call for Advocacy at 2015 Annual Membership Meeting

ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams

As sweeping changes affect the music industry, ASCAP is blazing a new path forward on the heels of announcing historic high revenues, distributions and member success. Read remarks from ASCAP’s annual meeting on April 30th by ASCAP’s President Paul Williams, CEO Beth Matthews and EVP of Membership John Titta.

Support the Songwriter Equity Act. Ask Congress to #StandWithSongwriters: bit.ly/Support_SEA




ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams’s Remarks at the 2015 ASCAP Annual Membership Meeting


Good morning, everyone.

Welcome to ASCAP’s 2015 Annual Membership Meeting and the kick-off of the 10th – THE TENTH! - ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO.

I am Paul Williams and I am a songwriter.

How many of you are songwriters or composers? You are my tribe. You are my people. There is a certain level of comfort I get when I’m in the center of the herd.

We are kindred souls. We reach into the center of our chests and we try to bring a piece of our hearts into the world in the form of a song, a score or a symphony.

I am honored to serve as your President.

And I am fortunate to work with a dynamic group of fellow music creators on the ASCAP Board, elected by and from the membership.

Let me share with you the results of ASCAP’s recent Board election.

On the writer’s side:

Richard Bellis
Marilyn Bergman
Bruce Broughton
Desmond Child
Alf Clausen
Dan Foliart
Marcus Miller
Alex Shapiro
Valerie Simpson
Jimmy Webb
And Doug Wood

And on the publishers side:

Martin Bandier
Caroline Bienstock
Barry Coburn
Jody Gerson
Laurent Hubert
Dean Kay
James M. Kendrick

Leeds Levy
Mary Megan Peer
Matt Pincus
Irwin Z. Robinson
And Cameron Strang

As Chairman of the ASCAP Board, I can say that you’ll be hard pressed to find a more passionate, aggressive and informed group of men and women.

Working together on common goals has always been our mission. We combine our unique perspectives to solve problems and to make decisions that achieve the best outcomes for our collective community.

Although we are composed of writers and publishers who may have different perspectives, the Board is always focused on the greater goal of protecting this most valuable thing that we have - our music, our songs.

I’m a member of ASCAP. I joined in 1972, and for decades, my family has been able to survive, in some cases thrive, because of the work of those who came before me and who fought for my right to earn a living from my work.

ASCAP is coming off an incredible year. As you’ll soon hear, we posted record revenues and distributions. We should all feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment for that achievement. But don’t let the numbers fool you.

The environment we’re operating in is complicated, it’s tough, and achieving strong results for you took a massive effort by the ASCAP leadership and staff.

Right now music creators are facing some immense challenges. We’re not just in the weeds; we’re in the trenches.

The world is moving faster than ever towards music streaming services. We live in a wonderful world where any of us can listen to any music we want – everywhere and all the time.

But because of outdated government regulations, these services are not paying fair market value for your music.

How is it possible for songwriters to sustain our careers, feed our families and pay our rent when one million streams of a song on Pandora – the largest music streaming service – only pays about $90. And that is divided up between the writers and publishers of the song. That’s a huge problem!

As you know, Pandora took ASCAP to court last year to pay even lower rates.

We appealed the decision because we felt strongly that the final rate set by the Court for Pandora’s license was below the fair market rate for the five years of the license, which by the way, will be up at the end of this year. In my personal view, this decision undermines the benefits that all of ASCAP’s members should enjoy from a robust and efficient collective licensing system.

The benefits of collective licensing are important not only for songwriters, composers and publishers but also for our licensees and music fans.

But those benefits are threatened today because of outdated government regulations in the form of consent decrees ASCAP and BMI have with the Department of Justice. Our consent decree was put in place nearly 75 years ago, and it was last modified in 2001, before the iPod was even introduced.

Some of the rules in the decree are completely out of step with the way people listen to music today, and it disadvantages songwriters and publishers. As a result, some of our large publishers are contemplating leaving the PROs which would put at risk the very efficiencies of collective licensing that so many of us depend upon for our livelihoods.

We knew something had to be done. So we asked the Department of Justice to open a review of the consent decree. They did.

We are asking for specific changes that we feel will reform the music licensing system to meet the realities of today’s music marketplace. And more important, these changes will give us a fair shot at a future that treats songwriters like everyone else – with the ability to negotiate our rights as willing sellers to willing buyers. We should not be forced into a system that compels us to give away our music for less than its true value.

Here are the changes we’re asking for:

Number one: We need a faster, more efficient way to resolve rate disputes with licensees than the costly and time-consuming rate court process. We’re proposing a form of arbitration.

Number two: ASCAP should be able to provide all rights necessary for digital services to operate, such as performance and mechanical rights, which we are prohibited from doing today. This will benefit our members, our licensees and consumers. It is a way to simplify licensing and reduce transaction costs. It is also a way to ensure that you are getting the full value of your rights when your music is streamed and both your mechanical AND your performance rights are in play.

Number Three: ASCAP members should be able to grant the right to license their works to interactive services in the free market without any regulatory restraints. Currently, our members are not allowed to do that.

While the DOJ is weighing our concerns and our urgent call for modernizing the system, they are also hearing from our opponents who are against any type of music licensing reform.

In fact, just yesterday a lobbying coalition was formed by Google, Amazon, Pandora, the Digital Media Assocation, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Retail Federation and other tech and media giants specifically to fight any kind of reform of the music licensing system.

They’re calling it Music Innovation Consumers Coalition or MIC, which is just another misleading effort by big media companies and music users to prevent meaningful reform of our music licensing system so they can keep paying American songwriters less than fair market value for the right to use their work.

We need to make sure that policymakers and the public won’t be fooled by this self-serving wolf in sheep’s clothing. These trade groups fighting reform like to use the argument that music licensing reform will kill innovation.

What they are REALLY saying is that they want the federal government to protect their profits at the expense of every songwriter and composer and music publisher in America. That’s not the job of the federal government – to pick winners and losers in business.

Just a few weeks ago ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews testified at a Senate hearing on the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees before the anti-trust subcommittee. And in June of last year, I testified before a House Subcommittee on the issue of music licensing reform. We both testified alongside executives from Pandora and the National Association of Broadcasters as well as others representing the interests of technology companies. And we both communicated what’s at stake for music creators if we don’t modernize this outdated set of rules.

I was lucky to have Rosanne Cash on the panel with me.

It was a surreal experience, and I told the committee “Here I sit surrounded by representatives of multibillion dollar corporations that profit from our songs, and I find it beyond perplexing that American songwriters like Rosanne and myself are the ones subject to the heaviest government regulations.”

It’s absurd to listen to some of their arguments for keeping the status quo. Basically, they boil down to this – “because we make technology, we are ‘innovators’ and I put that word in quotes – and the Department of Justice should protect our right to profit from our technologies – because, after all, that’s the American way.

Because of these outdated rules, we get to pay songwriters and publishers a pittance for the right to stream their music, and that gives us bigger profits.” Of course, that’s not what they actually say, but that’s the truth of why they want to keep the system just the way it is.

Well, guess what? Many of their “innovative technologies” were invented for one reason only – to play our music! Their only product – the only thing they sell – is access to music.

You know who the true innovators are? You are. Can you get more innovative than creating new music? Or creating whole genres of music that have fueled major cultural and political movements throughout the world? Genres that have opened the doors to freedom and social justice and democracy?

American songwriters and composers invented the blues…and jazz…rock and roll, rap, hip-hop…the list goes on.

And while the opponents to consent decree change are stuck in a mind-set as old as the hills, the call for music licensing reform continues to gain traction in DC.

The US Copyright Office published a comprehensive study led by US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante. It’s titled “Copyright and the Music Marketplace.” You can read it on the Copyright Office website. The study makes it very clear: The current system needs reform – and fast! It also emphasizes how the current system undervalues musical works – something we experience daily.

ASCAP submitted public comments to the Copyright Office with our proposals for reform as did many of our members and others in our community. I am pleased that our voices were heard.

I am also happy to report that the Songwriter Equity Act was reintroduced in both houses of Congress by a bi-partisan group of legislators, including two wise Congressmen who will be speaking with us at the EXPO on Saturday -Representatives Doug Collins from Georgia and Hakeem Jeffries from New York.

There are now many co-sponsors of the bill as well. This is encouraging because the Songwriter Equity Act represents an important first step toward updating the system.

As you know, there are two copyrights implicated when a recording is played – one is for the musical composition, the song itself, owned by writers and publishers, and other is for the sound recording, owned by record labels. And currently when a song is streamed or downloaded online, the musical composition earns far less than the sound recording. In the US, it is 14 to 1 in the digital space. Where songs are licensed in the free market – such as synch uses for film and TV – the recording and musical work are valued the same.

What the Songwriter Equity Act would do is allow a rate court to consider other royalty rates as evidence when establishing digital performance rates for songwriters and composers. It would also adopt a fair rate standard for reproduction, or mechanical, licenses.

It’s a small fix but it would make a big difference in the lives of music creators.

As you see, Congress is taking a hard look at the music landscape and the need for reform.

We are very encouraged that we have a prominent seat at the table in these discussions. I believe many members of Congress understand that songwriters and composers are the very foundation of the entire music value chain and that the current system is not working for us.

At the same time, they are being lobbied heavily by the corporations that control some of the biggest pipelines of music delivery. And they are lobbying aggressively in all arenas to protect their own economic profits, not yours. In fact, they are blatantly creating ways to avoid paying more for the music that drives their profits.

Nobody knows what the outcome will be for many of these issues. But if you want an outcome that works best for songwriters, composers and publishers, then you need to get involved.

It is critical for us to stand together as members of ASCAP.

ASCAP has always had your back, but as a community we need to have each other’s backs.

For your songs to be heard they need to be sung. For our rights to be protected, we need to lift every voice and make them heard too.

How can you help? Stand up, speak out and defend the value of your music.

You can start by visiting the ASCAP Advocacy booth at the EXPO where you can sign up to get more involved. Right there at the booth, you can also write to your congressperson and ask him or her to support the Songwriter Equity Act. We also make it very easy for you to do from ascap.com.

bit.ly/Support_SEA

Since the Songwriter Equity Act’s introduction, close to 1,000 ASCAP Members have sent 2,850 letters to the House & Senate reaching 408 congressional offices.

That’s a great start and we hope you’ll add to momentum.

You can also support our agenda in Washington DC, by contributing to the ASCAP Legislative Fund for the Arts, our own political action committee - or PAC. We use it to support our champions in Congress. Whether we like the political system or not, in order to achieve our legislative goals, we must be able to contribute to political campaigns for those members of Congress who have an impact on our future.

So we are launching a new effort to strengthen our PAC with the vital support it needs from throughout ASCAP’s community. When I say “our” PAC -- that includes everyone here today -- ASCAP writers, composers, publishers and our friends throughout the industry, as well as ASCAP’s own staff.

Give what you can. It’s purely voluntary. But every dollar counts.

bit.ly/ASCAP_PAC

You can also support our efforts in your own lives. In your conversations, in your communities, in line at the grocery store or online, don’t sell yourself or your fellow songwriters short.

Every time a famous songwriter or artist stands up for their rights, it shines a light on the problems we all face and we should support them. When you see people trashing them online, comment in their defense – in defense of all people who are creators.

We need to raise awareness. We need to be united. We need to be warriors for the light. We need to be warriors for WHAT’S RIGHT.

We have two great lobbyists in DC but we need an army and that would be you! We have our voices. We need to use them collectively, consistently and effectively to spread the message that music has value.

If we do that, I truly believe we can build a future that works best for everyone, from the businesses that use your music to boost their bottom line, to the songwriters and composers who work hard to create music that will resonate in the hearts and souls of people everywhere.

If you are participating in this year’s EXPO, you are in the right place. The EXPO is an amazing opportunity to connect with this wonderful community of ours.

I guarantee you will learn and experience things here that you can’t find anywhere else. Perhaps you’ll meet a co-writer or a producer for your next project, or be inspired to take a new direction with your career. Whatever you do, you can’t help but feed off the creative energy that is here. It’s powerful stuff.

And please be sure to attend my legislative panel on Saturday morning with Congressmen Doug Collins and Hakeem Jeffries, along with hit singer-songwriter and one of our most eloquent music creator advocates, Aloe Blacc.

I want to thank all of you for being here this morning. Thank you for being part of ASCAP.

Before I go, I want you to know that while we’ve been engaged in this urgent advocacy work, ASCAP has been taking care of business -- as you’re about to hear from our new CEO.

I’ll tell you that after former CEO John LoFrumento announced his retirement last year, the ASCAP Board conducted a serious, rigorous search for an individual who understood ASCAP’s issues, was a passionate advocate for protecting creators’ rights and had the vision and skills to lead ASCAP into the future.

We made the perfect choice in Beth Matthews. She served as our General Counsel for two years and has been a major catalyst for change and transformation at ASCAP. We’ve been amazed at her level of creativity, her observations about the shape of the global music industry, and where ASCAP can expand and be more flexible.

I am grateful beyond language. She is a champion.

Please welcome Beth Matthews!




2015-annual-membership-meeting

ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews’s Remarks at the 2015 ASCAP Annual Membership Meeting


Good morning and welcome everyone.

I am really thrilled to be here today.

I came to ASCAP because I BELIEVE in the innate rights of CREATORS. Whether you are a songwriter, a painter, a photographer or a screenplay writer, I believe that all creators should get paid fair market value for the use of their works.

Music is one of the most universal forms of art. It is important to our culture. It is important to society. It is important to our experience as human beings. It helps us connect with one another in profound ways.

What I LOVE about ASCAP is that it is a mission-driven organization. ASCAP’s job is to ensure that you can make a living creating the music that we all love.

I truly believe that ASCAP is the most experienced, innovative and progressive organization in the world to serve songwriters, composers, music publishers and the businesses who profit from your music and the billions of music fans who need your music in their lives.

Paul talked about the incredible change happening in the music sector right now. Fortunately, change has always been the name of the game for ASCAP. We have always anticipated and adapted to change, maximizing our opportunities to grow your revenue.

The difference is that change is happening faster today. Yet, once again, ASCAP has been out in front, transforming itself to meet the demands of the new era and creating new opportunities for our members.

Our 2014 financial results are proof positive.

ASCAP became the first PRO in the world to achieve $1 Billion dollars in revenues in 2014. That’s Billion with a Capital B!

That is an increase of over $57 million dollars, or 6% from the prior year.

Keep in mind that unlike our competitors we are a membership organization and we operate on a not-for-profit basis. This means that we give you ALL the money your music has earned after deducting our operating expenses. ASCAP does not take a profit.

Our mission is to deliver the best collective licensing value proposition and I’m proud to say that we have one of the lowest overhead rates IN THE WORLD at 12.6%.

One third of our revenue comes from the performances of your music outside the United States. This foreign revenue from ex-US performances was up 4.9% in 2014.

We also broke a record for royalty distributions. We paid you – our songwriter, composer and publisher members -- over $883 million dollars in royalties last year.

These distributions were up $32.3 million dollars, a nearly 4% increase from 2013.

That is more money in YOUR pocket and the HIGHEST AMOUNT paid to music creators by ANY performing rights organization in history.

ASCAP worked extremely hard and continually innovated in order to maximize financial opportunities for you. We did this through a combination of revenue growth strategies and productivity improvements.

Here’s how we did it:

We closed & fully executed 55 final agreements in the TV category in 2014, covering 192 programming services and thousands of affiliated websites associated with those services. The final deals often result in more secure payments and a steady stream of income now and in the future.

We launched a major new initiative in our General Licensing area, covering bars, restaurants and grills that increased efficiency and grew revenue. Our goal was to simplify our licensing rate schedules and agreements in order to make the licensing process easier for our licensing customers. This triggered a growth rate of over 9% in 2014 and it increased collections of past due accounts by 140%.

We are always looking to embrace technology to further automate our processes and decrease costs.

We processed 500 billion performances last year.

And what is amazing about that figure is that we doubled it from the prior year. We are now on a trajectory to achieve up to a trillion performances processed by the end of this year at this rate.

We are able to achieve these numbers because we have developed a state-of-the-art software system to do so. CIO Magazine recognized ASCAP with its CIO 100 Award for technological innovation for our proprietary Audio Performance Management system.

Our APM system receives information about music played on the radio and via internet services and automatically matches and processes this data to determine royalty distributions to ASCAP members. Our APM system is capable of matching six times more performances per hour than our previous system.

This is the very definition of “Big Data,” the definition of a technology-driven company…that’s what ASCAP is today.

Part of our strategy going forward is to harness this data in new ways to create innovative business intelligence tools and provide new services to our members.

We already give our members access to incredibly detailed information about your performances and your royalties, but we are building enhanced tools to make your lives even easier — so that you can spend more time being creative and writing music.

So while we celebrated our 100th birthday last year, it was also a milestone year in terms of transforming ASCAP to meet your future needs as music creators.

We know that the behavior of music fans is evolving. We are very focused on the trends in the marketplace and how we must be pro-active and agile in rapidly responding to consumer demands.

For example, we dramatically expanded our surveys of the most significant digital streaming services in 2014, including Apple iRadio, Pandora, Rhapsody and Spotify. The number of writers paid for performances on these services increased by nine times from 2013. And we identified more than 1.3 million unique works played on those services, 30 times more than in 2013.

In addition, we are expanding payments to reflect the growth in music listening on digital platforms. Starting in June, we will expand our existing Radio Feature Premium payments to include the most frequently performed songs on satellite radio and music streaming services.

Now rebranded “Audio Feature Premiums,” these expanded premium payments will ensure that you continue to receive payments that reflect consumer trends in music listening.

This speaks to our vision of ASCAP as innovative, flexible, and responsive to your needs.

ASCAP’s success speaks to the power of the collective licensing model. This means that songwriters who stand together are stronger together because if you as an individual songwriter tried to go out and license 700,000 businesses on your own, it would be really daunting.

This is exactly why ASCAP exists.

By licensing all of your music together (by you I mean all 530,000 ASCAP members), we can harness the full value of 10 Million works through a blanket license, rather than leaving each of you to fend for yourselves licensing your music, song by song. Let us do the heavy lifting on your behalf so that YOU can be free to create music.

As Paul mentioned earlier, this is a critical moment in our history as music creators. The value of your music is at center stage of the battle we are fighting in DC. If we work together and if you get involved, then we can ensure that the value of your music is protected so that you can make a living from the creation of your art.

You are the reason that ASCAP has succeeded and will continue to thrive in the future.

I truly believe that with our collective creativity, vision and action, we can change the face of performing rights and ensure a strong future for all music creators, businesses and music fans alike.

Thank you for being here today, and thank you for being members of ASCAP.

And NOW it gives me great pleasure to introduce a friend of creators, a musician himself, and the pride of Staten Island – ASCAP’s Executive Vice President of Membership -- John Titta.




2015-annual-membership-meeting

ASCAP EVP of Membership John Titta’s Remarks at the 2015 ASCAP Annual Membership Meeting


2014 was a year of milestones for ASCAP members. The same year we turned 100, our membership surged past the half million mark. Our new signees included many of the biggest names out there: hip-hop stars LeCrae, Bobby Shmurda and Vinylz; the pop/hip-hop sensation Becky G; electronic music superhero Dillon Francis; Andrew Bird, who you’ll hear on Saturday at the EXPO Writers Jam;” Lorenzo Mendez, Latin music stars Yotuel, Brika, and J Alvarez; film composers Jóhann Jóhannsson and Gustavo Santaolalla; and a name that I know all of you Angelenos hold dear: Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. He scored his first film last year.

Many of our most successful members renewed their agreements with us, We are so proud that these members are part of the ASCAP family -- Max Martin; Dr. Luke; Meghan Trainor; Tom Petty; Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan; Diplo; Dan Wilson; and The Doors among many others. By any account, this is an impressive group of people. But the big names are just a small sliver of the 40,000 of you who chose ASCAP last year. So why is it that so many music creators are flocking to ASCAP?

You heard from Paul and Beth about our pioneering work in Washington, and how we’re harnessing new technologies to stay the most efficient, forward-looking PRO out there. But I want to talk about something that’s just as important to ASCAP: community.

After all, ASCAP is the only US performing rights organization created and controlled by YOU – all the songwriters, composers and music publishers that call ASCAP home. This is the kind of community that you simply can’t find anywhere else. ASCAP members run the gamut from industry legends, to songwriters just starting out.

And at events like the ASCAP EXPO, you all get to meet each other and learn from each other, face-to-face.

Here at ASCAP we’re a supportive community, and that means giving you the tools and knowledge you need at every step of your musical journey. Our goal is to offer a suite of services that every one of you can take advantage of, and benefit from.

And it’s working! Here are just a few examples:

In 2014, we paid ASCAP OnStage royalties to more than 6,000 ASCAP members for over 32,000 live events - 30% more events than 2013. For those of you that perform your music live the onstage program gives you a simple way to submit set lists for live shows you play in ASCAP-licensed venues, and get royalties for every single one.

This January, we granted $1.6 million in cash awards to over 2,200 deserving members for their 2014 Plus Awards submissions. ASCAP Plus Awards continue to support our members whose music is played outside the scope of our performance surveys. We were the first PRO to establish a program like this, and it’s been a cornerstone of our career development offerings for over 50 years.

If all of this is new to you, the best thing you can do is activate your Member Access account. In Member Access, you can register your music so we can start tracking it and getting you paid. You can download all your royalty statements, find out where your music was played, see the cue sheets we have on file for you, and see what you earned for each play. This is your music and your money – you deserve as much detail as possible about your ASCAP royalties. Member Access is how to get it.

ASCAP.com is a rich source of knowledge for music creators: along with our email newsletters Inside Music and the ASCAP Daily Brief – curated by ASCAP Board member Dean Kay. Sign up for them on our website if you haven’t already. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay in the loop.

Beyond our website, we do a lot to help our members’ careers in the real world:

ASCAP Song Camps have become incubators for music that sets creative standards for the industry. In 2014, our Song Camps led to some incredible successes: the Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood single “Something Bad,” by Chris DeStefano, Brett James and Priscilla Renea, which hit #1 on the country charts; Jacob Latimore’s first single “Heartbreak Heard Round the World,” written by Johntá Austin, Shea Taylor and Martin Johnson.

Meanwhile, ASCAP Nashville’s innovative GPS Project – that stands for “Guidance from Publishers for Songwriters” resulted in publishing deals for several of our 2014 participants.

Our workshops offer opportunities to learn from some of the most renowned music creators alive. Programs like the Lester Sill Songwriters Workshop, our Film Scoring Workshop with Richard Bellis – who is giving an EXPO Master Class on Saturday morning– and our Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz have played vital roles in our members’ careers.

Just one example: every year, we honor our most successful composers at the ASCAP Film & TV Music Awards. This year, 12 of the winners were graduates of an ASCAP workshop. Find out how you can participate in the Career Development section of ASCAP.com.

In 2014, The ASCAP Foundation continued its noble mission of nurturing the music talent of tomorrow. The Foundation’s Morton Gould Young Composer Awards went out to some unbelievably talented composers under age 30. At our Jazz Wall of Fame ceremony in June, we recognized the winners of our Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards. These awards are just a small sample of the educational, professional and humanitarian work the ASCAP Foundation does to bring music and opportunity to people who might not otherwise have them.

We love what they do, and this past year we held the once-in-a-lifetime Centennial Awards – a fundraiser for the Foundation during our hundredth year. Imagine, presenting awards to Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks and Stephen Sondheim, all in the same night. We are very grateful to them for helping us to raise money for The Foundation in support of its many programs.

ASCAP hosts showcases at the biggest festivals and conferences in the country –Sundance, CMJ, South by Southwest and the Folk Alliance, to name a few. Our showcases have featured the Killers, John Mayer and St. Vincent, early on in their careers. But they’re not just great opportunities for the fans and the ASCAP members on stage. We do these showcases to spotlight the importance of songwriters and composers to the music and film industries as a whole.

And of course, there’s the ASCAP EXPO.

As you’re about to find out, the EXPO is a dose of inspiration, education and motivation - but it’s much more than that. It’s a trusted community-building event, where everyone walks away enriched, including our panelists. And this year’s lineup is one of our best ever. If you haven’t already registered, the registration desk is down on the Mezzanine Level of the Loews Hotel, and it’s open all day.

I wanted to take a few moments to salute some of our members’ biggest accomplishments in the past year. These folks are ASCAP members, just like you. And I hope their successes inspire you to achieve your own goals, whatever they may be. The 2014 Grammy’s were huge for ASCAP members: Beck won Album of the Year; Beyoncé won Grammys for “Drunk in Love” and her self-titled album. St. Vincent, who we just honored at the Pop Awards last night with our Vanguard Award, won Best Alternative Album. Max Martin was named Producer of the Year – we honored him last night too, with his eighth Songwriter of the Year award. Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Lecrae, Rubén Blades – the list goes on and on. You guys cleaned up!

The Country Music Association awarded Brandy Clark Song of the Year for "Follow Your Arrow.” Philip Glass just won the elite Glenn Gould Prize. Steven Price earned an Oscar, BAFTA and Critics’ Choice Award for his score to Gravity, and at the Golden Globe Awards, Jóhann Jóhannsson won Best Original Score for The Theory of Everything.

Primetime Emmys went to Michael Price for his score to Sherlock, and our EXPO alumnus Lin-Manuel Miranda for "Bigger!" from the 2013 Tony Awards. Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman won Best Musical at this year’s Tonys, for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder; Jason Robert Brown was honored twice for Bridges of Madison County. Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch was named Best Revival of a Musical.

Our members won over 50% of the 2014 Latin Grammy categories, including Enrique Iglesias and Descemer Bueno’s Song of the Year victory for “Bailando,” and a major milestone for Calle 13, who became the most awarded act in Latin Grammy history.

2014 was also huge for ASCAP writers on the Billboard year-end charts. The top songwriter charts included Max Martin, Dr. Luke and Brad Paisley, and new chart royalty Aloe Blacc, Iggy Azalea, Lorde and Meghan Trainor. In total, ASCAP songs hit #1 on 26 year-end song charts. Our writers dominated the Top 10 on 7 separate year-end songwriter charts, including #1 spots for David Bratton, Calvin Harris, Joel Houston, Romeo Santos, Bobby Shmurda and Dan Smith, from Bastille.

And the critics loved ASCAP music in 2014, too. The War on Drugs, St. Vincent, Run the Jewels, FKA Twigs, Caribou, Beck, Lana Del Rey, Flying Lotus – they put out the most universally acclaimed albums of last year. And ASCAP represents all of them.

We are so proud of all of our members’ accomplishments, and thrilled at the chance to help you find success in your own music career.

I truly believe that each and every one of you is an integral part of this community.

You run ASCAP – you are our membership, you elect our Board. We make our decisions with your needs and interests in mind. Our job is to make it possible for you to get whatever it is you’re looking to get out of music.

The whole reason ASCAP exists is to help you succeed.