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International income from British music 

19 October 2012 

PRS for Music announced that British music abroad is so popular; revenue earned from its use has doubled since 2002. During 2011, UK songwriters and composers earned £187.7m globally, up 10.6% on 2010 (£169.6m).

The organisation represents 90,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, collecting royalties from 150 territories around the world. Growth of £100m in international royalties since 2002 is attributed to both the widespread consumption of British music and improved licensing of its use and efficiency of distribution around the world. Due to the success of its music creators, the UK is one of only three countries in the world that is a net exporter of music.


  • The success of stadium acts such as The Rolling Stones, Muse, U2, and Paul McCartney means live music income has seen substantial growth from £2.2m to £21 million in the past decade.
  • Meanwhile, many chart hits by Adele, Rhianna, The Wanted and Nicki Minaj are penned by British songwriters, meaning record earnings in the past 12 months.
  • Revenues from UK music used on television have doubled from £29 million to £60 million due to the availability of more channels, wider distribution of British repertoire through formats such as X Factor and Pop Idol and the popularity of shows such as CSI and Grey’s Anatomy that use music by British songwriters.
  • Online income from downloads and streaming services has grown rapidly. While still comparatively low at £2million, the figures look set to more than double by 2022.
  • Brazil continues to be an important source of income for PRS for Music members, seeing an increase of £1.6 million in the last two years. This is due to unprecedented investment in excellent concert venues and live music facilities, fuelled by the country’s successful bids to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games 2016, as well as improvements in licensing by the local society.
  • The collecting society predicts continued healthy growth from established markets in Europe, Asia and South America over the next five years and beyond, and is working hard to unlock revenues from more emerging markets such as India, China and Eastern Europe. 

Karen Buse, Director of International, of PRS for Music said:  “These are very strong trends which underpin the success of our songwriters and the UK music industry on the global stage. While it has been a particularly strong year for music distribution via platforms such as the 2012 London Olympics this much is clear: music is a great British success story. It contributes significantly to our economy and promotes our endemic creativity and culture. ”


 Territories where PRS for Music collects





About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.

PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £537.4m in 2015, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.

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