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PRS for Music announces record royalty payments

UK collection society PRS for Music has announced a record-breaking £211 million royalty distribution to members.

The figures mark the highest ever payment in the organisation’s 108-year history, and a 18% year-over-year increase  of £32.5m on October 2021.

“The record payment of royalties by PRS for Music reflects our relentless focus on maximising the value of members’ rights”

“The record payment of royalties by PRS for Music reflects our relentless focus on maximising the value of members’ rights,” says PRS for Music CEO Andrea Czapary Martin. “Ensuring members are paid as quickly and accurately is at the heart of everything we do.”

Live and public performance royalties were up 210% on 2021, and includes all remaining royalties held for adjustment during the interruption to licensing during the pandemic. Music played overseas, including cable retransmission, was up 2.5% against the same period in 2021.

PRS represents more than 160,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and worldwide, with royalties paid to members when their music is streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed live and played in public.

The society also recently announced Paisley’s The Bungalow as the winner of its Back to Live Music Venue Prize for Scotland. The recovery-focused nationwide competition was launched by PRS to give independent live music venues across the UK the chance to win one of six prizes of up to £10,000.

“The Bungalow’s music legacy and increasing impact on the local community is so vitally important to the growth of music in the UK”

The 300-cap venue, which once welcomed acts such as The Fall, The Damned and Echo & the Bunnymen, is now run as a community ownership project. Its managers Tommy McGrory and Alan McEwan plan on using the prize money to upgrade the musicians’ experience at The Bungalow by renovating the space and renewing the available backline.

“We can’t express how deeply grateful we are for this award,” say McEwan and McGrory. “It is a great privilege that we have been chosen as the winner of The Back to Live Venue Prize in Scotland. It gives our team here at The Bungalow the confidence and motivation to work harder within our community to further develop which is already a fantastic music town. This is such an incredible moment for us and the money will significantly improve our assets which in turn will provide better opportunities both for grassroots and professional artists.”

PRS launched the Back to Live Music Venue Prize competition in March 2022 in direct response to the impact of the global pandemic on live music venues in the UK. Winning venues were determined by a judging panel made up of leading representatives from across the music, arts, and hospitality sectors.

“The Bungalow’s music legacy and increasing impact on the local community is so vitally important to the growth of music in the UK,” adds Martin. “We’re proud to find ways to support local scenes with projects like the Back to Live Music Venue Prize.”

Four more UK regional winners will be announced over the coming months.

 


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UK live revenue slumps for second straight year

Despite the return of full capacity concerts, royalties from the UK live sector fell 29.2% last year to just £8 million (€9.5m) according to collection society PRS for Music.

The total represented a £3.3m year-on-year decline and a huge 85.2% (£46m) reduction since the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

PRS, which represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers, cites the postponement of high-profile tours by acts such as Elton John, Dua Lipa and Eagles for the slump, along with the impact of Covid restrictions and reduced public confidence.

Moreover, there was an 84% drop in the number of live performance setlists reported to the organisation in 2021, falling from 124,000 in 2019, to 19,300. However, it notes that 2022 has begun with fresh optimism, with more than 240 major tours featuring PRS members planned throughout the UK and beyond.

Revenues are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023

PRS CEO Andrea Czapary Martin told the BBC that revenues are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

However, the body still delivered significant growth, with a 22.4% increase in overall revenues to £777.1m, on a constant currency basis, buoyed by a 45.6% (£83.9m) year-on-year increase on a constant currency basis in royalties collected from music played online to £267.8m.

Music streaming accounted for the largest proportion of online revenue, contributing £225.5m to the overall online income, up 42.5% (£67.2m) since 2020, and 45.5% (£70.5m) since 2019.

PRS distributed £677.2m in royalties to its members in 2021 – a 3.2% (£22.2m) decline on 2020, but just 1.3% (£8.8m) below 2019 figures.

“The entire organisation has embraced the chance to adapt and innovate”

“2021 was a successful year that further cements PRS for Music’s place as a world-leading, innovative rights management organisation,” says Martin. “In exceptional circumstances, and still with a recovering marketplace, we recorded a 22.4% year-on-year growth in revenue to £777.1m. The 45.6% growth in online meant we collected £267.8m – an extra £83.9m on 2020. The 59.6% uplift in public performance is encouraging as it reflects a marketplace, like the economy, that is getting back to business. Significantly, it underlines the organisation’s ability to adapt to all market sectors to fully monetise and protect the value of the music rights entrusted to us.

“Covid-19 has overshadowed my two full financial years as CEO of PRS for Music, but has given me and the whole PRS team, the opportunity to really focus on the importance and value of the work PRS does on behalf of its members and how we can better serve them in all areas of what they do.

“For all businesses, these have been unprecedented and challenging times. However, I believe we grasped that opportunity, and the entire organisation has embraced the chance to adapt and innovate. It will be from these solid foundations that we can meet our vision of becoming a billion-pound society in royalties paid out, while further strengthening our systems and partnerships, all with a cost-to-income ratio of below 10%.”

 


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