US collecting society ASCAP has been explaining to its members why its next set of royalty distributions will be delayed, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, president Paul Williams alerted members to the fact that its next writer distribution will be sent on 28 April rather than the planned date of 6 April. Yesterday, CEO Beth Matthews followed up with more details. “This is because we had to go through a collection cycle of March 31/April 1 payment due dates to determine accurate cash flow before finalising the funding pool and processing hundreds of thousands of distribution files for payment processing services,” she wrote. “Some of the vendor services we use to process and pay the distributions have also been materially impacted by COVID-19, so there is a domino impact that we are constantly navigating in terms of ensuring business continuity.”

Both Williams and Matthews made it clear that songwriters should prepare for bad news further down the line. “The pandemic will have a material and negative impact financially on almost every category of licensing, so it is important to ensure that we are prepared for a decline in both revenues and distributions,” wrote Williams. “Our licensing revenue will become increasingly variable as businesses remain closed, and the advertising market which drives revenues from television, radio and cable continues to be negatively impacted,” added Matthews. “Every category of ASCAP collections will be negatively impacted, including television, cable, radio, airlines, hotels, bars, grills and restaurants.”

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