PRS for Music reports record music royalties
UK performance rights organisation (PRO) PRS for Music has announced it collected a record £746 million on behalf of its members in 2018, a 4.4% increase from the previous year.
Overall costs for the company rose from £86.2m in 2017 to £93.8m in 2018. The company says the rise is due to investment costs related to the launch of the PPL PRS Ltd joint venture, which serves as a one-stop shop for public performance licensing in the UK.
The company also distributed a slightly lower £603.6m to its songwriter, composer and music publisher members. The company attributes the 0.2% reduction in distributions on “processing delays at our joint venture partners”.
The body collected royalties from 11.2 trillion music performances, including streaming, downloads, radio and TV plays, in addition to live music events.
According to PRS, live revenues are up 13% to £39.9m, boosted by big British festivals and high-profile UK tours. The PRO now receives 4% of the ticket price for live concerts and other music events – festivals excluded – following the implementation of a new live performance tariff in June 2018.
“The way in which we all consume music has changed dramatically over this period, but the popularity of UK music endures; long may it continue”
International collections continue to prove the most profitable revenue stream, bringing in £280.6m in 2018, a 9.1% increase from the year before. Income from digital services also saw a boost, growing by 17% to £145.7m.
However, PRS collections from broadcasters including the BBC, Sky and Global Radio were down 5.1% to £127.7m.
“Royalties from international digital continue to underpin our growth, areas in which we have invested systematically over the past ten years,” says PRS chief executive, Robert Ashcroft.
“The way in which we all consume music has changed dramatically over this period, switching from ownership to access, but the popularity of UK music endures; long may it continue,” adds Ashcroft, who steps down from his role at the end of the year.
Ashcroft also commends the recently passed European Copyright Directive, which he calls “the most significant change in copyright law in nearly twenty years”. The directive compels online content sharing service providers, such as social networking sites and YouTube, to combat the sharing of copyrighted works and seek licenses from the music industry to host their content.
In relation to the passage of the Copyright Directive, Ashcroft has discussed the possibility of receiving royalty revenue from online gaming platforms. A virtual Marshmello concert hosted in popular free-to-play game Fortnite was “attended” by ten million people earlier this year and Weezer used the game to premier their new album Black last month.
Robert Ashcroft to step down as PRS for Music CEO
Robert Ashcroft is to step down as chief executive of UK collection society PRS for Music at the end of December 2019, the tenth anniversary of his appointment.
“Working for PRS has been by far the most compelling and worthwhile thing I have ever done,” says Ashcroft, who came to PRS from investment consultancy Hudson Morris Associates. It has been a privilege to work on behalf of our members and I would like to thank them, our board and, above all my colleagues, for their support over the years.”
No replacement has yet been announced for Ashcroft (pictured), whose tenure has seen the introduction of a well-received new live music tariff and the launch of a joint venture with sister society PPL.
“Robert has given the organisation a decade of stability and growth”
More recently, PRS has lobbied in favour of the new EU Copyright Directive (and the controversial Article 13), which Ashcroft said following the most recent vote would contribute to a “functioning and sustainable digital single market for creative content” across Europe.
Nigel Elderton, PRS chairman, comments: “Robert has given the organisation a decade of stability and growth, making it the considerable success it is today. He should be rightly proud of his legacy and the health in which he leaves PRS for Music.
“On behalf of all our members, staff and industry partners I would like to thank Robert for his service and the positive impact he has had. We wish him every success in the future.”
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