LeAnn Rimes crushed it, Snoop Dogg puffed it and Sony/ATV was crowned publisher of the year at the 34th ASCAP Pop Music Awards. The event, which took place Thursday night at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, honored the most played songs of 2016 and the writers behind those hits.
“Love Yourself,” written by Justin Bieber, was named ASCAP Pop Music Song of the Year, while pop mastermind Max Martin took Songwriter of the Year honors for an unprecedented tenth time for his role in crafting hits, including “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” performed by Justin Timberlake, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” sung by Adele, and “Just Like Fire” for P!nk.
With one trillion musical performances logged last year, and a record $1.59 billion in royalties success has never sounded so good, according to ASCAP president Paul Williams, who vowed to keep fighting on behalf of his membership in Washington D.C.
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Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier reveled in the company’s 22 wins and said it’s “a great time for the music business with streaming driving up revenue. But I don’t have to tell you songwriters are not yet sharing in this growth.” Bandier pointed out that on any given week the majority of songs at the top of the charts are co-written by songwriters who were not the performers.”
Snoop was a surprise guest, closing the show by presenting the ASCAP Founders Award to hitmaking phenom Diane Warren, who joked “I had two hits with Snoop Dogg … and ate a whole large pizza by myself.” Accepting her award from the rap star, the “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” writer proved true to her song’s lyric, asking “Is that a spliff you’re holding?” then soliciting a light.
Warren, who has written perennial hits such as “Un-Break My Heart” and “If I Could Turn Back Time” for artists including Beyoncé, Adele and Whitney Houston, was honored with two live performance tributes: LeAnn Rimes blew the lid off the place with a stunning rendition of “How Do I Live,” and Jacob Latimore performed “Have You Ever.”
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Past ASCAP Founders Award-winners, honored for exceptional contributions to music by inspiring and influencing others, include Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, and Joni Mitchell.
Meghan Trainor received ASCAP’s highly regarded Vanguard Award, which recognizes the impact of songwriters who are shaping the future of American music. In addition to her 2015 breakout hit, “All About That Bass,” and two multi-platinum albums – “Title” and “Thank You” – Trainor has penned hits for artists including Rascal Flatts, Lauren Alaina, Jennifer Lopez, and Fifth Harmony. Jasmine Thompson performed lovely piano renditions of “Like I’m Going to Lose You” and her new Trainor-penned single, “Old Friends,” while jazz bassist/composer Marcus Miller honored Trainor with a performance of “All About That Bass.”
Trainer movingly recounted her parents bringing her to ASCAP Expo as a 16-year-old. She credited the group with “looking at me as a person, not just as a big dollar sign, which means a lot to me.” Trainor also gave a shout-out to her publisher, Big Yellow Dog, and company owner Carla Wallace “for teaching me how to grow as a songwriter and a person.”
Sony/ATV’s big 2016 included such hits as Sia’s “Cheap Thrills,” “Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers featuring Daya, and “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” co-written by Mike Posner, honored Sony/ATV with by performing the song live on the art deco Wiltern stage. Bandier mentioned that his company netted 17 wins at the BMI Awards earlier this month.
BMG took Independent Publisher of the Year in recognition of hits like “Hide Away” (Daya), “Work from Home” (Fifth Harmony), and “On My Mind” (Ellie Goulding). A live performance of “Hide Away” by Britten Newbill & Brett McLaughlin celebrated BMG and Sony/ATV together, both publishers having had roles in the hit song.
A complete list of winners can be found on the ASCAP website.