June 07, 2012

ASCAP Improves Fairness of TV Distribution Formula

The ASCAP Board of Directors recently approved changes to the Weighting Formula used to determine royalties for television and all other audio/visual performances of ASCAP members’ works, including performances on the Internet. These changes are designed to ensure the continuing fairness of the distribution system as ASCAP keeps pace with changes in the way music is used in television programs.

Effective with the 2012 June publishers’ and July writers’ distributions, all Background Performances will now be treated the same, with no difference in payment between Background Vocal and Background Instrumental performances. This change recognizes the fact that in today’s TV landscape, Background Vocal and Background Instrumental performances largely are used in the same way. The length of feature performances - those performances that are considered the center of audience attention - will have a greater effect on their value. Longer performances will be awarded a greater value than they have in the past. Performances of music in Infomercials or Paid Programming will receive 40% of the value of regular programming.

ASCAP President Paul Williams commented: “As a member-owned organization, ASCAP strives for a distribution system that is fair and transparent to its members. As music use grows and evolves in the marketplace, ASCAP must periodically review the payment system to ensure continued fairness. These changes were led by the Board of ASCAP as they bring more fairness to the distribution system.”

Composer and Board member Richard Bellis added: “ASCAP’s distribution should always reflect the value a performance represents to our licensing negotiations. These changes not only represent fairness and objectivity but bring our distribution system more closely in alignment with our licensing efforts.”

Added Board member and composer Bruce Broughton: “Those of us on the Board who are also members of the film composing community advocated for these changes to improve the fairness of TV payments and we are gratified that the Board of ASCAP approved them after careful consideration. This is a perfect example of how a member-owned and governed organization like ASCAP best serves the needs of the composing community.”