This is a big change for the music licensing clearinghouse: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has been run for the last 17 years by John LoFrumento, who retired at the end of 2014. His replacement as CEO, Elizabeth Matthews, knows the organization well. She has been EVP and General Counsel since 2013. Before that she was EVP and Deputy General Counsel at Viacom Media Networks.
“Beth’s experience in the global multimedia content sector, her deep understanding of the complexities of the music business and her passion for protecting the rights of music creators make her singularly qualified for the CEO role,” says ASCAP Chairman Paul Williams – whose songwriting credits include We’ve Only Just Begun, Rainy Days and Mondays, and An Old Fashioned Love Song. “Her enthusiasm for taking on the new challenges of the digital era is unparalleled.”
One of top items on Matthews’ agenda will be to change ASCAP’s 1941 consent decree with the Justice Department that governs the amounts songwriters can collect from venues ranging from radio to restaurants. Some members say it now prevents them from seeing the licensing fees they deserve from digital streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. “As new media platforms transform how we listen to music, it is critical that we evolve our own business models and update outdated music licensing laws to better reflect the reality of today’s music marketplace,” she says.