PRS For Music royalty payments top half a billion pounds in 2016

PRS For Music royalty payments top half a billion pounds in 2016

PRS For Music has reported a record-breaking 2016 performance, after the total amount of royalties paid out to songwriters, composers and music publishers reached £527.6 million. The collecting society also revealed that its revenues for the year rose 10.1% year-on-year to £621.5m, while 33% more music creators received royalty payments.

The company’s stellar year saw a data volume hike of a whopping 80% as some 4.3 trillion performances of music were reported worldwide. This resulted in payments being made on a record-high 4.2m works – up 45% on 2015.

International income received from equivalent societies overseas increased to £233.7m, marking an increase of 5% (£11.2m) year-on-year. However, revenue from music played via online platform delivered the biggest uptick at 89.9% (£38.1m) to £80.5m.

Meanwhile, public performance income grew 4.6% to £183.2m with broadcast revenues effectively stable as revenues dipped just 0.1%.

Unsurprisingly, it was the streaming boom of 2016 that generated the biggest revenue rise. Payments from streaming services rocketed 159.5% to £61.5m – accounting for £23.7m just one year previously.

Downloads, on the other hand, slumped 9.8% on 2015 to £5.5m, while video on-demand services slumped 6% to £9.4m. Revenues from gaming experienced a major surge, charging 57.7% to £4.1m.

PRS' most significant global gains came from emerging markets, such as south east Asia and Latin America, with overall royalty payments in these regions up 75.3% to £13.5m. Royalties paid across its two most lucrative markets – Europe and the US – were almost identical, up 15.6% to £137.4m in the former and 15.4% in the latter. In total, its international payments grew 19.5% (or 5% on a constant currency basis) for the year.

Elsewhere, the organisation’s strong performance in the live sector continued in 2016 with a 9.2% increase to £30.9m, due in part to an additional 7,600 concerts and festivals in 2016 over the previous year.

As for the rest of PRS’ public performance royalty payments, hotels and restaurants revenues were up 7.5% to £24.5m, industrial premises up 10.4% to £22.3m, cinemas up 18.1% to £9.8m and those classified as ‘other’ up 11.7% to £32.5m.

It wasn’t a clean sweep of public performance gains though, as pubs and club and shops both registered a decline in revenues. Payments from pubs and clubs slid 3.6% to £42.4m, although it's worth noting that this was still its most lucrative sector from the public performance and live segment. Furthermore, revenue from shops was also down, slipping 7.6% to £20.8m. This was due to some major retailers, including Marks & Spencer, dropping music from their stores.  

Speaking to Music Week about the company’s 2016 figures, PRS For Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft said: “We cautiously welcome the idea that the business has turned a corner. We’ve seen strong growth in streaming services and everybody knows that the recorded music part of the business has started to grow again, which is very encouraging.”

Commenting on the future for PRS, Ashcroft told Music Week he expects revenue growth to continue in 2017.

“We are in very interesting times,” he said. “We firmly expect that our public performance revenues will continue to grow as a result of the joint venture with PPL. Obviously it’s a year of transition. The online business is on a growth trend and our international business is still growing steadily.”

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