ASCAP announced that Elizabeth Matthews has been named the new Chief Executive Officer of the organization. Matthews, who has served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at ASCAP since 2013, was a unanimous choice among the Board’s 12 writer and 12 publisher members. Matthews replaces former ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento, who retired on December 31st after 33 years of service to ASCAP, including 17 years as CEO. Matthews begins her tenure at the helm of ASCAP immediately.
“Now, more than ever, songwriters and composers need an advocate we can trust to ensure our work is valued fairly in a rapidly changing music marketplace,” saidASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. “What we do is vital to the future of music. 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. Her enthusiasm for taking on the new challenges of the digital era is unparalleled.”
(pictured, l-r) ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), ASCAP songwriter Ne-Yo, Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Beth Matthews before a 2014 panel discussion hosted by Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chairs Chu and Coble on music licensing updates
As ASCAP’s Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Matthews played an important role in planning ASCAP's future. She led development of a six-year transformative strategic plan that anticipates the future competitive landscape and changing needs of ASCAP members and customers. Matthews was a key internal leader on modernizing ASCAP’s licensing systems and pushing for reform of ASCAP’s consent decree. She also spearheaded ASCAP's support for introducing the Songwriter Equity Act in Congress.
Prior to ASCAP, Matthews served as Executive Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at Viacom Media Networks (formerly MTV Networks) since 1998. There she guided her Business and Legal Affairs teams through the early days of the shift to digital. Previously, Matthews worked in the Intellectual Property and Corporate Groups for Chadbourne & Parke and the Business Technology Group for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
In a letter to staffers, Matthews wrote: "
To All ASCAP Staffers:
It is with great excitement and commitment that I welcome the amazing opportunity of serving ASCAP, our members, our licensing partners and you -- the dedicated and talented employees of ASCAP who, like me, are inspired and driven by ASCAP's mission to protect, educate and cultivate the careers of music creators.
As I take on my new role as CEO, I feel very fortunate to have been mentored and guided by John LoFrumento these past two years. John's passion for ASCAP and his track-record of successful leadership were what inspired me to join ASCAP as EVP and General Counsel, and I am so grateful to him for his leadership and for being a personal mentor to me. I know that I can continue to count on John's unique perspective and valuable insights as I begin the work of leading ASCAP into a new era.
We all know that the world in which we have operated for the past decade has changed dramatically, and ASCAP has been at the forefront of efforts to meet the challenges of this new world, both internally and externally. Not only are we in active negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice to modernize our outdated Consent Decree, but as an organization, we pro-actively got ahead of the need to control our destiny by setting long term strategy and did not wait for market forces or regulators to tell us that we needed to change. Our work to develop a strategic six-year plan was approved by the ASCAP Board of Directors, who understood the value in taking a long view and setting a new course of our own choosing. Many of you had some role in our strategic planning efforts. Now is the time that we begin the journey of executing our strategic plan in order to transform our business and innovate at a faster pace than ever before. Our future is exciting to me and, I hope, to all of you.
In the coming months, we will embark upon several new initiatives to turn ASCAP into an even more flexible, adaptive licensing and service organization that anticipates the needs of our constituents and provides them with best-in-class, innovative new tools and services. We have the most treasured and valuable repertory of musical compositions in the world. We will demonstrate to our publisher, songwriter, lyricist and composer members that we are the best at optimizing the value of their musical works at the lowest cost. We will show our licensees that we value them as partners and we understand the challenges of their business because their success is our success. And, we will explore ways in which we can create more value for everyone in the music licensing marketplace through collective licensing.
We will be doing a lot of things differently in the months to come, but we will stay true to the core values of ASCAP because those values are the reason that so many of us choose to work here. It is always so much fun to hear the stories of my colleagues at ASCAP, so many of whom are musicians or fanatical life-long music lovers. That love is what makes ASCAP unique and different. This is not just a job; it is a passion and a mission. I look forward to working with all of you to continue that mission while we build ASCAP into a new kind of organization for the future.
I would like to leave you with a promise. I know that change can be difficult, confusing and unsettling. My promise is to do my best to keep the lines of communication open so that we all understand our shared vision, challenges, direction and goals. Toward that end, we are planning an ASCAP Town Hall meeting with employees to take place in February or early March.
In closing, I especially want to thank Paul Williams and the ASCAP Board of Directors for their vote of confidence in me, and I want to thank all of you for your support as we work together to ensure the success of ASCAP’s next 100 years.
"ASCAP is an expansive, forward-looking and adaptive service organization that successfully built and grew the market for performance rights for songwriters and publishers in the United States. As CEO, I am excited about building upon our unique assets to offer new and innovative services to our members and our licensing partners. As new media platforms transform how people listen to music, it is critical that we evolve our own business model and update outdated music licensing laws to better reflect the reality of today’s music marketplace. I am honored to work on behalf of the world’s greatest music creators who call ASCAP home."
- ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews
- ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews