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PRS revenues break record despite declines in recorded media and live

By | Published on Friday 5 April 2013

PRS For Music

Collecting society PRS For Music collected a record £641.8 million for the UK music publishing sector last year, an increase of 1.7% on 2011. And whereas, in the main, it has been growing international royalty income that has led overall growth in PRS collections in recent years, this time it was booming digital revenue and the continued growth of TV sync that delivered the results. In total £571.9 million was distributed back to the society’s publisher and songwriter members.

Online revenue from song rights, which includes the publisher’s share on download sales as well as royalty payments from streaming and subscription services, shot up 32.2% between 2011 and 2012 to £51.7 million. This countered the continued decline in publishing royalties generated by the sale of CDs in the UK (though, overall, PRS’s ‘recorded media’ income was up slightly because of some new pan-European work in this domain).

International revenue, which has seen considerable growth in the last decade, was down 4% in 2012, a result, in part, of exchange rate losses. However, this income stream – collected by other collecting organisations from licensees outside the UK who use songs represented by PRS on a global basis – is still the biggest single revenue generator, bringing in £180.1 million.

Royalties from broadcast and the public performance of works also saw some growth in 2012, with television revenue, which includes sync in the UK, up 4.3% to £106 million. Radio increased slightly from £46.8 million to £47 million, while overall public performance income, paid by the live sector and public buildings and businesses which play music, was up 0.5% to £154.7 million. Though that latter rise was lessened by the British live industry having a difficult year, its overall contribution slipping 14.2%.

PRS’s music publisher and songwriter members also saw the benefit in 2012 of some quiet down-sizing that has occurred at the society, with the organisation’s costs down from £76.5 million to £73 million, meaning that while total revenue was up 1.7%, the sum passed on to creators and song rights owners was up 2.6%.

Making a quick comment on this year’s figures, PRS boss Robert Ashcroft told CMU: “Copyright remains fundamental to the continued success of our members both at home and abroad, while the ever-increasing importance of licensed online services such as iTunes and Spotify underlines the value of music to the internet economy”.