PRS For Music CEO Andrea C Martin has spoken exclusively to Music Week about the financial impact of Covid-19.
In the latest issue, we reveal projections of how the pandemic will affect revenues and distributions to members in the years ahead. After recent impressive results, it’s going to be a tough time for the songwriting and publishing community.
Overall revenue in 2020 is set to decline by between 15-25% compared to 2019, when PRS collected a record £810.8 million.
“All these figures depend on what’s going to happen and what the government decides,” said Martin. “And it’s not just about the UK but worldwide – international [revenue] is such a big part of our business.”
Following the easing of the lockdown in the UK, PRS and PPL have started charging reopened businesses again for licensed music after payment holidays.
However, the loss of concerts in 2020 will result in a continued slump in live revenue.
Prior to Covid-19, PRS For Music was on course for a 5% year-on-year growth in revenue collection for 2020 and a 10% increase in distributions.
“We’re doing everything we can to get the right data to accelerate the processing of online and be on top of international societies,” said Martin. “[But] there will be a downfall.”
We’re doing everything we can to get the right data to accelerate the processing of online and be on top of international societies
Andrea C Martin
PRS is trialling licensing models for livestreams and is looking at licensing options from the greater use of public spaces for music.
“We haven’t factored that into our calculations, it’s just speculative,” Martin told Music Week. “We’re experimenting with live concert streaming. We’re hoping it could compensate a little bit, but I really view that as setting up [revenue] for 2021 and 2022. We’re going to come out of Covid with [livestreams] as a new normal, because digital has just accelerated.”
Streaming growth will be one positive for PRS, with online revenues set to increase in the years ahead, although it won’t offset the live decline. Following a payment from YouTube as part of the July distribution, ICE is also engaged with with TikTok, representing PRS amongst others, with arbitration ongoing.
During the online AGM on August 18, PRS will introduce governance changes intended to cut costs and facilitate quicker decision-making.
“It will allow us to be more nimble, modern and flexible,” said Martin. “That will help us moving forward to build a strong company."
To see the full forecast from PRS and interview, subscribers can click here.
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