May 12, 2016

ASCAP Announces Settlement Agreement with U.S. Department of Justice

May 12, 2016 – The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) today announced that it has reached a Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice addressing two specific concerns raised during the Department’s ongoing review of the ASCAP Consent Decree. This Settlement Agreement clears the way for ASCAP and the Department of Justice to continue their discussions in connection with updates to the Consent Decree requested by ASCAP in order to reflect today’s digital music marketplace.

“Settling this matter was the right thing to do for our members,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “With these issues resolved, we continue our focus on leading the way towards a more efficient, effective and transparent music licensing system and advocating for key reforms to the laws that govern music creator compensation.”

The Settlement Agreement addresses concerns expressed by the Department of Justice with exclusivity provisions that were included in some historical agreements with ASCAP members. The exclusivity provisions were never enforced and have been removed from all agreements.

The Settlement Agreement also concludes a review of the composition of the ASCAP Board of Directors by the Department of Justice. The Agreement maintains the current ASCAP Board of Directors structure of 12 songwriter/composer members and 12 music publisher members elected by the membership, which has been in place for 95 years, while ensuring that publisher board members do not participate in the approval of new licensing agreements.

“We took immediate steps to resolve this matter and have strong controls in place moving forward,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. “This settlement enables ASCAP to focus on our mission of protecting the rights of music creators, who depend on us for their livelihoods, and to maintain our unique status as the only member-owned and governed performing rights organization in the U.S.”    

The Settlement Agreement was approved by the ASCAP Board of Directors and is now subject to the approval of the ASCAP Federal Rate Court Judge.


The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 700,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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Lauren Iossa, ASCAP

liossa (at)

Cathy Halgas Nevins, ASCAP

cnevins (at)