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AGM 2020 recap

On 18 August 2020, we hosted our very first virtual AGM. It was a historic event for us, with over 1400 members, guests from the media, partner organisations and general public watching - over six times our usual turnout. 866 valid proxies were submitted accounting for 9,180 votes.

We also put forward vital changes to how we're governed, which were voted in by our Prinicipal Voting and Voting members at this year's AGM. We're very pleased to see these changes go through, they will make sure our Boards and your society are completely focused on delivering better support and services to you. For more information, visit our governance review page

Directors' Ballot

Renowned legal and business affairs executive, Alexander Kassner, has been newly appointed as a publisher Council Member, alongside Roberto Neri and Jo Smith, who have been re-appointed as publisher Council Members, and John Truelove, who has been re-appointed as a writer Council Member.

For more information on all of the new Council Members, please view our press release.

Highlights

Below you can watch video highlights from the meeting, including the speeches, Q&A session and the formal business. 

We've also included the promotional videos from PRS Foundation and the PRS Members' Fund which were shown at the meeting.

Speeches

Bjorn Ulvaeus AGM speech

Hello everyone.  

I have been given the great honour to welcome you all to this year's PRS AGM. And I haven't asked Andrea, but I think it's probably because I'm a PRS member, even though I'm a foreigner. And, of course, newly elected president of CISAC no less since the end of May. And I've used my time in quarantine to read up on this ever changing music industry of ours. And this during the most tumultuous period ever from which we don't know when we will emerge again or how. One thing is for sure, though, the timing is perfect for PRS to take the decision it no doubt will be taking today. To become more efficient and flexible, quicker on its feet. Which I'm certain the new governance plan will achieve. Congratulations Andrea and the people you worked with for doing a great job. Quick decisions on flexibility have never been the hallmarks of CMOs, as we all know, so I hope PRS is starting a new trend.  

When I was asked to take on the role of CISAC president, I thought, who would I be working for? Who are the real customers of a CMO? Well, I'm sorry, all you terrific, wonderful publishers out there, but ultimately I couldn't help thinking it's the songwriter. 

On the artist side, there has been much innovation around providing high quality, fast paced artist services. And I think we had better expect similar innovation emerge for independent songwriters, which means CMOs need to consider whether they have to improve their tools and service level for songwriters or risk looking out of step with a changing marketplace. I read an interview in a blog the other day with Maya, a young singer-songwriter who has six million monthly Spotify listeners. One question was, what is the best route to making a living as a songwriter today? And she said, find ways to monetise. Whether it's YouTube videos, subscriptions and Twitch collecting on USB streaming podcasts, all of this adds up in the end, whatever you do, make sure you're collecting. Monetise is such a crass word in this context. But you have to be an entrepreneur in order to gain some kind of artistic freedom. The integrity that comes with not having to change the listener, but having the listener come to you, because if you're lucky, monetising buys you time to become a better songwriter. 

I can't help comparing how much simpler life was for Benny Andersson and myself during that golden age of copyright, the 70s. I don't mean that it was easier to write 'Waterloo' than any other song, but once we had a hit with that, the royalties came pouring in and it was plenty enough for us to be able to concentrate full time on songwriting and producing. 

I guess you can call that monetising too, but you know what I mean, we didn't have to run around like eager beavers looking for sources to collect money from. 

Things being as they are today, this rat race of monetising is not conducive to developing as a songwriter, I think. To sustain a long career both as an artist and creator you need a body of work that lends you cred and trust among your audience. It is difficult to make a living from music. Even more difficult to make a living from writing music. The digital pie is not big enough and everyone wants their slice. I have always respected the fact that labels invest more money than publishers usually do, and therefore rightly should have a larger share. For historic reasons, the split is what it is. But is that a God given law? Having enjoyed a great relationship with Universal Music, both label and publishing, and having met so many intelligent, talented and creative people in that company, I find it difficult to believe that an honest and open minded discussion about slicing the digital pie and growing it is a non-starter. And there never was a better time. The last few months have proven to all of us how vital digital income is and how crucial it is that this income is shared fairly. To the artists who can't perform and to the songwriters who wrote the songs they would have performed, the only hope is streaming royalties. We are all damaged by COVID-19, the whole industry, but I think none more so than the artist and the songwriter. But we will rise again. And I hope we can take this opportunity to change our industry to the better. And the better music industry means creating an environment for artists and songwriters where they really can blossom. I will certainly work towards that in my own small way as President of CISAC. And if you're not with me, I'll have to sign an executive order, that's what presidents do. So, what will we see CMOs become in the future? How will they evolve and stay relevant in this world of disruption? I've given that a lot of thought lately and spoken to a lot of clever people. 

I understand that it's natural for a CEO of a society to want to attract as many writers as possible, a certain degree of competition is good for the creators as well. 

But I doubt it's good for them when societies become silos, investing millions of pounds and building their own technologies and tools. When simultaneously another one is building the same. Technological tools that could be cloud based and why not built under the supervision of CISAC to be shared globally by any and all CMOs? 

That could only serve everyone's interest, especially societies who represent repertoire that's used all over the world. We need to up the game and we need to take the lead in raising the bar. Also, there's no reason to invent the wheel when there are third party tech companies out there who could solve problems quicker and cheaper. We should be focused on finding the best solutions out there, joining forces and pooling resources in a way that would benefit songwriters wherever they are in the world. I noticed that I sounded like a politician right now, I have to be careful in this role. 

Well, let's return to Maya, the young singer songwriter, for a moment, where you can see that she does it all herself and therefore she wants to be in an environment of useful services. If she finds that one service is inefficient or too slow, she will undoubtedly turn to another. 

In the future, there will be millions upon millions of DIY singer songwriters, producers, globally who will want to distribute and register their works the same as any established creator. 

The CMOs will have to be present everywhere in some form or other. In mobile apps, on websites and workstations contributing to a potentially dazzling, rich global music culture. I believe it is our responsibility to open all doors to creative people who want to make a living from their music. The young generation of creators depends on us to do the right thing for them. This right thing I would think, is adjusting quickly, responding to today's challenges meaningfully and being wise and forward looking about using technology and managing data and repertoire. Now I've already gone on for too long, so finally I just would like to congratulate PRS on the record numbers in the 2019 report and to hand over to Chairman Nigel Elderton. 

Nigel Elderton AGM speech

Good afternoon everyone and a very warm welcome to all those of you who have joined us online today.   

My thanks to Bjorn for his opening remarks.  

Many congratulations Bjorn on your role as the new President of CISAC, we know you will be a strong advocate for our industry.  

As we entered this year none of us could have predicted a global health crisis and lockdown. We have all faced difficult times in the last few months, whether due to isolation, the loss of income and, of course, most painfully the loss of our loved ones.   

It was only right that we postponed the AGM in May, and while we greatly miss seeing you in person today, holding this event virtually provides us with an opportunity we may not have otherwise realised. We are expecting more people than ever before to watch and I believe participation is up with double the votes received.  

We want to make this, our first online AGM, as seamless as possible, and so we have pre-recorded today’s speeches from Steve, Andrea and myself. However, the formal notice and the Q&A will, of course, be live.  

2020 has become the year of staying in. As music creators, publishers and fans, it has been terribly sad to see the absence of live music and difficult not to be able to work with fellow creators and music professionals in person.  

We’ve all watched with disappointment as venues have shut and businesses that use our music have closed, as the catastrophe of the global pandemic has unfolded.  

As we outlined in the forecasts we shared with members last month, the financial ramifications for PRS for Music and the whole music industry will be deeply felt for the remainder of this year and well into 2021, and beyond.  

We must protect our music venues. They are a critical source of income for all of us and are essential to the UK’s cultural and economic success.   

We need to collectively work across all parts of our industry to ensure our communal voice is heard.   

I call upon the government to recognise that a world leading music industry doesn't happen by accident - it requires constant nurturing and investment.   

As we rebuild our sector, navigate our way through Brexit and the opportunities and challenges of new international trade deals, we need the government focused on a successful and vibrant music industry.   

We at PRS will certainly be a leading voice in these debates.  

Whilst we undoubtedly face challenging times ahead, I would like to congratulate Andrea and the team on the success of 2019. 

You will hear from Steve Powell, our Chief Financial Officer shortly but ‘revenue up, distributions up and costs down’ is exactly what a Chairman, my Board and you the members want to hear.   

As a Board we challenged management to get the PPL PRS joint venture onto a stronger footing, to support ICE as it improves its speed of distribution and cost efficiency. I am delighted that Andrea and her leadership team have delivered on our targets so admirably and led so steadfastly on the need to change. Andrea will be talking more about this later. 

I’ve also been very impressed how your society has risen to the challenges this year. 

The PRS Emergency Relief Fund, the PRS Presents LCKDWN event, our improved communications to members and the continued evolution of the support and services we offer. 

I would like to thank every one of the PRS employees. On behalf of my fellow directors and the membership, thank you for the way you have adapted to the requirement to work from home. It’s been really commendable. The change in one’s daily working lives hasn’t been easy, and you have risen to the challenge with aplomb.  

For a number of reasons this is a historic AGM. This organisation has achieved so much and played such a vital role in the industry for over a century but we can never rest on our laurels. We need to keep driving forward.  

The governance and structure of our Boards needed to change. They have served us well for many years. We have had excellent representation from genres across the song writing and composing community and of course the expertise of those from within the publishing world.   

We don't always agree, we may not always get it right, but the debate is lively, the passion always comes through and we all seek to put the interests of PRS first.   

The directors realise that the way the society is run and governed can be improved, made more efficient and cost effective for the world in which we now operate. Ten years ago, we processed 126 billion performances, last year it was nearly 19 trillion.  

This is why the Board has proposed a more streamlined structure, with clear purpose and intent, better representation and engagement with the membership at all levels. Greater flexibility will free up PRS to achieve more and deliver more. 

Quite frankly as we challenged management to deliver efficiency and cost savings, we could not avoid asking the same questions at Board level.   

Working with the governance experts at Mazars, I truly believe we now have a proposal that will deliver a leaner, fitter and more representative PRS and as Chair, I fully support it. 

I’d like to pay tribute to my fellow directors, co-chairs, Andrea and her team, as well as Mazars who have worked so hard to reach agreement on the way ahead.  

If the proposed changes are approved, our new Members' Council will represent the interests of members and have a more outward facing role, taking the thoughts and suggestions of our members and giving them a greater voice.  

The Council will work to promote the interests of PRS globally, together with the newly created role of PRS President, and support our PRS Board and the management team in running the business.  

Terms of office will be restricted to enable fresh talent and wider diversity at all levels, and collegiate voting will remove potential voting conflicts, binding songwriter and publisher communities together in the interests of the society at large.   

The work on this has been extensive and thorough, spanning a two year period resulting in over 40 recommendations made by our consultants with the Board’s full support.   

Moving on, and despite the challenges, the business is heading in the right direction, and our strategy is sound. We are investing in our future. In better technology, in our partnerships and on delivering a world class service and membership experience. 

Your PRS team is distributing more money, more frequently and from more sources.  

Of course, without our members’ world class music, we could not bring in such excellent results. 

Our members’ repertoire is enjoyed and respected the world over. It is imperative that we recognise its value in all that we do and in the licensing deals that we negotiate. As has been said many times before but I think it is always worth restating that without the song there is no music business, no record labels, concert venues, music radio, or streaming platforms. 

Our community is strong, it is active and it is finding its shared voice in a world that is now tech-dominated. 

We have great people, a strong Board and the drive and energy to succeed in what has become a very competitive world for PROs. 

The voice of music creators and publishers is at the heart of what we do. Let’s continue to fight for the rights of our creators and let us work hard to ensure our community gets fairly rewarded for our work and investments. 

I would like to highlight the fantastic work of the PRS Members’ Fund and PRS Foundation. We are extremely proud of these organisations which contribute so richly to our overall industry.  

Now, more than ever, they are vital in supporting our members.  

Let’s take a look at some of their highlights over the last year.  

[PRS Members' Fund and PRS Foundation videos play]

That's amazing work and incredibly inspiring, a big thank you for the valuable work you do. 

I would like to thank my deputy chairmen Simon Darlow and Simon Platz who have supported me so well throughout the year. 

I would also like to extend my gratitude for the invaluable help and guidance of our independent non-exec directors. In particular Stephen Davidson who currently chairs the Executive Board. They have all worked tirelessly on your behalf and have been a great help to me personally. 

We’ve lost many friends and colleagues and we all know people who have suffered a great deal this year due to the pandemic. I’d like to pay my respects to all of those songwriters, composers, publishers and those from our extended music family who we have lost since the last AGM. Our thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families at this time. 

[In memoriam video plays]

A great loss for the industry, they will all be greatly missed - but their music lives on.   

I will now pass the baton over to Steve Powell, our Chief Financial Officer, who will give a detailed overview of our impressive 2019 financial results and predictions for the future. I will be back with you later to conduct the formal business. 

Thank you.  

Steve Powell AGM

Hello everyone and as Nigel said, I am Steve Powell, Chief Financial Officer at PRS for Music.   

We all know that our organisation, the members we serve, and the wider music industry, are experiencing a year like no other. None of us could have foreseen the impact the Coronavirus pandemic would inflict as we began 2020.   

In a few minutes, I will give you our latest view as to where 2020 may end up, and the steps we are taking to manage the risks and the inevitable drop in revenue and distributions that we face. 

Before moving onto 2020 though, as I have now passed the five-year mark at PRS, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to consider what has happened during this period and one thing that is very clear is that a lot has changed! 

We have battled the tech giants for the future of copyright in the EU. We have had the “Blurred Lines” case and the EU Referendum vote and associated timeline for withdrawal. Ed Sheeran broke the singles chart and Stormzy made history at Glastonbury. This industry never stands still. 

And neither does PRS. Amongst other things we have a new CEO, set up a Public Performance licensing joint venture from scratch with PPL and further developed ICE, our Copyright and Online partnership with STIM and GEMA into a world leading licensing and processing entity.  

The financials over that period have also been impressive. In the five years from 2014 to 2019, UK Music reported the overall music industry in the UK grew by 27%, whereas PRS’s growth over that same period was more than double that at 58%, with collections up by just under £300m each year.  

The last five years have been a great success and I’m proud to have been a part of that. 

Moving on to look more closely at 2019 on its own, I can safely say it was a very positive year and importantly allowed us to start this year in the best possible shape.  

Our headlines are, revenue up, distributions up, costs down or as some may say, the Holy Trinity for a finance person! 

Revenue broke through the £800m barrier for the first time, finishing at £811m. A 9% increase on 2018. 

We paid out a record £686m to members. A 14% increase on the 2018 result. 

And costs were down £6m on the previous year meaning that the all-important cost to income ratio excluding charitable donations reduced from 12.7% to 10.8%. 

Let’s have a look at the detail behind these historic results. 

One of the most impressive areas of revenue, and therefore distribution growth, was Public Performance which in the first full year of operation of PPL PRS Ltd saw double digit growth from £192m in 2018 to £222m in 2019. 

It’s not only about revenue though, cash collections are significantly up as well which along with a real focus on clearing the Live processing backlog allowed an increase in distributions on 2018 of over 35%. 

We knew that Public Performance would be a challenge in 2018 while we established the joint venture, and I am pleased to say that by the end of 2019 we were close to back on track , and went into 2020 with the foundations in place for significant further growth.  

We said it was a priority last year and we delivered. 

Another part of our business that is in focus like never before is Online. So how did PRS do here? 

Well only two years after breaking through the £100m mark, streaming revenue has continued to grow at pace and now sits at an impressive £155m. And when you then add in another year of strong growth for the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime the total figure for Online is £179m. 

This is, and will continue to be, a key area for PRS. 2020 has shone a further spotlight on streaming and how the songwriter and composer community earn from this platform, whilst highlighting new opportunities both in gaming, and through new entrants to the video on demand area such as Disney +.   

Coronavirus has accelerated the move to digital and PRS is perfectly placed to capitalise on this shift for our members. 

Turning our attention to Online distributions which I know has been an area of concern for many of you. ICE has made significant strides forward in this area.   

However, there is still work to be done and as Andrea will talk about shortly, making further progress in this area is a key priority for us. PRS is committed to ICE and is investing in the future of this great asset. Improving the processing capacity, alongside the speed and breadth of the services that ICE offers to its customers, will mean it remains best in class and more than capable of managing the exponential growth of data we know will not be stopping anytime soon.  

While revenue growth in 2019 was predominantly driven by Public Performance and Online, our other business areas cannot be forgotten.   

International continues to demonstrate why PRS for Music is one of the best CMOs in the world. And although revenue appears to have been broadly flat from 2018 to 2019, when you strip out the various one offs in 2018 across the EMEA region, this is another area that performed well with growth of around 4% in 2019.   

But being a great international organisation is about much more than pure financials and during 2019 we continued to focus on replacing, what in some cases are decades old agreements between PRS and our international partners, with new ones fit for the modern age. These new agreements will serve us better, allowing for continued growth, less deductions and greater transparency. 

Similarly, in a tough linear broadcasting market where viewing figures are declining by around 5%, we actually managed to increase revenues to over £130m. Although this area of the television market is undoubtably in decline, it remains important to PRS and our team continue to deliver. 

So, with revenues up 9%, and distributions up close to 14%, you’d be forgiven for thinking our costs would have risen to deliver this.   

In fact, as I said at the start, we spent less in 2019 than 2018 and delivered more.   

I stood in front of you last year and promised a razor-sharp focus on our costs and together we have achieved this.

People costs are down following the organisational-wide restructure we carried out in 2018.

Property costs are down following the reduction in the floorspace we occupy in Kings Cross from three to two floors. 

And professional and legal costs are also down due to a specific focus on reducing spend on outside consultancy.  

Strict management of our costs is important to all of us and will continue. 

So, we started 2020 in the best possible shape and it is important that we do not allow the challenges we now face to detract from what was a great 2019 for PRS. 

But as much as I wish I could finish there and say goodbye until next year, we all know the Coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of 2020 changed everything. Meaning that 2020 and beyond won’t be as positive, with impacts on both our revenue and of course our distributions to you.    

We are not yet in a position to fully understand the lasting impacts of this crisis on our sector or the wider economy but our current best guess is that we will see total 2020 revenue down in the region of 15% to 25% on 2019, and not returning to 2019 levels until 2022 at best. 

Why do we think this? Well, as you all know the live sector has been decimated and public performance more widely will continue to be hit particularly hard across various areas including pubs, clubs, cinemas, hotels and retail to name just a few. 

We will also see some contraction in radio royalties, as the commercial sector feels the squeeze from tightening advertising spend although, ever increasing revenue growth in non-linear television does at least mean there is some light at the end of the broadcast tunnel. 

Our International receipts will obviously not escape either as all countries battle with the same issues. It’s difficult to accurately predict how and when these reductions in overseas royalties will flow through to hit PRS, but it will undoubtably last through into 2021 and possibly 2022 and we continue to collaborate with our partner societies to support each other through this period. 

To try and mitigate these impacts, we have focused on driving new revenue opportunities and stripping back costs wherever possible, including people, our sponsorship and events, travel and property.  However, despite this focus on controlling costs, we must also still continue to invest in improving our service to you and developing the technology that underpins our business. 

So, with less revenue coming in, and despite the significant efforts to reduce costs, there will inevitably be lower distributions being paid out by PRS. 

However we are doing everything we can to distribute as much as possible in 2020, whilst obviously maintaining accuracy and are incredibly proud to have paid out over £368m in the first half of this year, an increase of 13% compared to the first half of last year. This record-breaking start to 2020 means that even with the inevitable slow down in the second half of the year, we are currently hopeful that we will be able to restrict the full year impact to less than a 10% reduction in distributions compared to 2019.   

To put this into context, Goldman Sachs’ have forecast a 15-20% decline in revenues for the wider music industry and while of course, any reduction in distributions is very regrettable. It is a testament to the tireless work of the PRS team that the predicted decline in our distributions is less than 50% of this. 

That said, while we can go some way to protecting 2020, the time lag we see between revenue and distributions does mean that the impact on distributions will continue to be felt through 2021 and later, even after our revenue shortfalls begin to turnaround. 

As our regular communications have demonstrated we will keep you all informed as the picture becomes clearer as we do understand the impact this has on all of you personally. 

And even though things have undeniably taken a turn for the worse in 2020. Rest assured the PRS team is on it, and we are working tirelessly to ensure we drive revenue wherever we can, reduce our costs and maximise money to you. 

We will return to growth and come through this crisis stronger and fit for the future, whatever that future may look like. 

Thank you. I would now like to introduce you to our CEO, Andrea Martin.  

Andrea C. Martin AGM speech

Welcome. 

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to join us today.  

We had no alternative but to hold it in this way and this week. Under the Articles we are required to hold the AGM before August 19th. That is tomorrow!  

But as Nigel has said, many of the meetings we now hold virtually are better attended and allow for greater interaction. 

I trust you are all keeping well, that your families and friends are healthy, and you are coping through this crisis.  

In particular my thoughts go out to everyone working in the live sector. I know many of you earn from playing live, and the impacts on this part of our industry have been devastating.  

I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on my first year at PRS. 

When approached about the job, I was inspired by the company's great sense of purpose and that appealed to me. I was struck by the passion for composers, writers and publishers. 

When offered the role I couldn’t say no!  

In a world of disruption, threats become opportunities and the shifting competitive landscape posed an interesting challenge to me. I was voted in at last year’s AGM and started in June after Robert’s 10-years at the helm. 

And I would personally like to thank him. Revenues and distributions have grown consistently over the last decade and membership has increased.  

PRS for Music is held in high regard internationally. Our global reach is unique and gives us a huge breadth of relationships around the world which all benefits the service we can offer to members. 

I inherited a good team, with great experience and a passion for the business. I have a Board committed to this organisation and eager for the next decade - ready to support me to build a new PRS. 

My assessment therefore was that PRS was in a good place, but the competition had started to catch up and we needed to change.  

I don’t want to go into last year’s numbers. However, I do want to make two observations. 

First, they show the immense potential of this organisation.  

Second, I draw much satisfaction from our cost-to-income ratio falling below 11%. Importantly I believe this shows the steps we have taken in the development of a new corporate culture and how much more efficient that is making us as an organisation. 

Important initiatives we launched over the last 12 months include our online statements and a unique analytical response dashboard, a project to move our distribution systems to the cloud, and we are laying the foundations for a complete overhaul of our Customer Relationship Management system. 

In addition, the focus and attention we have given both ICE and the PPL PRS joint ventures are now paying off, handsomely. ICE has undoubtedly help grow the online market. Almost nine million work registrations have been made since 2018 and over €1 billion has been processed and paid out.  

We continue to support ICE in its development of its new copyright platform, Cube, that will harness cloud computing and machine learning technologies. We look forward to its launch in 2021. My thanks go to our partners STIM and GEMA.  

My thanks also go to our Public Performance joint venture and to our partners PPL. The complexities around licensing public venues and businesses in the current circumstances are immense and it is clearly another area of revenue that is going to be significantly hit. The joint venture has risen to the challenge in a highly professional way.  

And I must make mention of our chairman Nigel Elderton and the Board. They welcomed me at the outset, offered me guidance but, at the same time, gave me the responsibility to start our transformation journey and let me begin to deliver our purpose. I am extremely grateful of the support they have shown me in my first 15 months. Thank you. 

I am a firm believer, learnt from my previous roles, that people are a company’s strongest asset. So a big thanks to the employees. They rose to the challenge on my arrival and understood the changes I wanted to implement.  

But just as we were perfectly placed to begin the important evolution of your society, the pandemic hit.  

More of COVID in a moment, but the team adapted spectacularly to lockdown in March and continued to deliver for you in unusual and difficult circumstances.  

The last six months have tested us all and our world has changed considerably.  

The company has a proud past in helping its members - through the PRS Foundation, the Members’ Fund - and many of them worked very hard to pull together our LCKDWN concert in April. The PRS Emergency Relief Fund has raised £2.1 million and helped over 4000 creators in need. 

Any reflection on the year to date must include Black Lives Matter, and the long overdue global debate about social inequality and injustice. We, in the music industry, had our own moment of contemplation on Blackout Tuesday. It is unquestionable that change is needed in our boardrooms and our offices, and therefore the question is: how do we all ensure change is meaningful and permanent?  

I am completely committed to positive change within PRS and the whole music industry, but first and foremost we must educate ourselves. Personally I know I have learnt a lot in the last few weeks in my discussions with employees. We will accelerate measures to ensure diversity of our membership is reflected in the make-up of the management and Board. We have already started to take action, as actions speak louder than words.  

Finally, on the issue of the PRS team. We have informed staff that there will be no bonuses paid out for 2020. But their commitment and attitude over the last six months further validates the award of the bonus for our 2019 results and I thank the Board for acknowledging their hard work. 

The underlying theme of change, and the need for it, brings me to the subject of the company’s five strategic imperatives. As I said, I recognised the need for greater focus when I joined. I felt there were too many objectives and initiatives and so, with the broader leadership teams, we together built these core priorities to align everyone and deliver them together. 

As these strategic imperatives will set the framework for your society in the future, I wanted to take a few moments to explain them to you.  

First, we will deliver excellent services. 

With our new Customer Relationship Management system, we will improve member experience across all interactions with PRS, and by providing more functionality it will have the added ongoing benefit of improving the efficiency of the organisation.  

Secondly, maximise member income. 

We must be more agile and more proactive. Always sensitive to changes in the market, particularly online, to ensure your rights are protected and use all our endeavours to secure the maximum value of your works. 

We will grow the scope of our licensing, including a renewed focus on gaming and live streaming. Standing still is not an option.  

Thirdly, scale up our current distribution platform. 

On top of paying our members accurately, the need for your revenues, and the timeliness of those payments is heightened by the virus. We must improve current distributions by strengthening our technology and automating processes where it is feasible and cost-effective to do so. 

Fourthly, optimise our joint ventures and partnerships. 

I have touched on this, but we must introduce structures, processes, and expertise to drive value for our members from our JVs and partnerships in our respective roles as shareholder and customer. The delivery of ICE Cube is essential as are the ongoing improvements of PPL PRS. 

Fifth and finally, build a high performing and engaged team. 

Ultimately, a high performing and engaged team, aligned around core priorities, will mean a better support and results for you, our members. 

COVID has enforced a new way of working upon us. And as we adapt we must focus on our core purposes. But we cannot allow COVID to become a barrier. 

Through this pandemic, we are guided firstly by the safety of our employees but also by three key principles to ensure we can protect members’ livelihoods. 

Secure the money-in, by a strong focus on licensing and international revenues. 

Ensure money-out, by maximising the distributions to members. 

And most importantly, enhance member support and communications. 

It is at times like this that it becomes clear just how vital the role of PRS is. And the organisation has and will continue to respond to the crisis. There is an energy and momentum now to not accept things the way they were and to take action that will lead to real change. 

I can reassure you that nothing deflects from my convictions that we will become a billion-pound business before the end of the decade, that we will maintain our global reputation for excellence, that we will be tech and commercially savvy and that ICE will set the gold-standard for multi territory licensing and data processing. 

But we can’t do this alone. We need to strategically lobby government - both as an organisation and also through UK Music for the wider music business. They have done good work applying pressure for funding for the music industry. All of us are stronger together and government assistance for the whole music industry is vital in the coming months.  

As Nigel said, PRS will play a key role in ensuring your voices are heard. 

Before concluding - a very brief word on governance.  

I recognised early on in my time here that, to create a new PRS, it would require a new governance structure.  

Change is never an easy thing to embrace but standing still in a world of now 19 trillion performances, and growing, across multi-territories and with fragmented rights is not an option. The new governance will make PRS more flexible, fairer, more fleet-of-foot in our decision-making process and more cost effective.  

And so we look to the future. We know many people have been affected, and in many cases badly, by the pandemic. But as your Chief Executive I take this as an opportunity. I am even more determined to build an organisation that works for you.  

PRS entered 2020 in the best possible place. And then what a year it became! 

But all the convictions, all the beliefs I had about this company when I joined have grown.  

On behalf of everyone at PRS we are excited by the challenges ahead and motivated by change. 

I look forward to working with you all on delivering a great business together, one that is both transforming and transformative, and that remains at the top of its field around the world. 

Thank you. 

Formal business

Formal Business

Voting results

Resolution

For

Against

Abstain

For %

1. Receive the Directors' Report and Accounts

9,197 134 479 98.56%

2. Approval of the Annual Transparency Report

9,116 174 520 98.13%

3. Appointment of Writer Director

9,197 179 434 98.09%

4. Appointment of Publisher Directors

9,163 181 466 98.06%

5. Appointment of Executive Director

9,057 224 529 97.59%

6. Adoption of new Articles of Association

7,670 1,599 541 82.75%

7. Consequential on adoption of Resolution 6 - Appointment of external Director

7,816 1,302 692 85.72%

8. Consequential on adoption of Resolution 6 - Appointment of external Director

7,796 1,322 692 85.50%

9. Consequential on adoption of Resolution 6 - Regulations pursuant to Article 72 governing ballot to determine eligibility of writer and publisher candidates for appointment as Council Members

7,822 1,322 666 85.54%

10. Consequential on adoption of Resolution 6 - Changes to the Rules

7,838 1,284 688 85.92%

11. Consequential on adoption of Resolution 6 - Changes to the Advances Regulations

7,857 1,284 669 85.95%

12. Appointment of auditors of the Society

8,982 258 570 97.21%

13. Appointment of Society-Member appointed trustee of the PRS Members' Fund

9,058 248 504 97.34%

Member Q&A

Member Q and A

PRS Foundation

PRS Foundation

PRS Members' Fund

PRS Members
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