CISAC releases 2021 Global Collections Report

CISAC’s annual report shows that creators’ royalties were down by €1 billion in 2020.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 27 Oct 2021
  • min read

Worldwide royalty collections for creators of music, audiovisual, art, drama and literary works fell by 9.9 percent in 2020, with losses amounting to more than €1 billion as a result of the global pandemic.

Total collections fell to €9.32 billion as lockdown measures saw live and public performance revenue nearly halve across the world, according to the latest annual Global Collections Report published by CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers).

The decline was partly mitigated by a strong rise in digital royalties, reflecting the sharp increase in audio and video streaming consumption worldwide and strong licensing activity by many of CISAC’s member societies around the world.

Key trends reported include:

  • Live and public performance fell 45 percent to €1.6 billion, with live concert revenue down by an estimated 55 percent
  • Digital collections rose 16.6 percent to €2.4 billion
  • TV and radio broadcast, creators’ largest income source, fell 4.3 percent to €3.7 billion
  • Music collections, comprising 88 percent of the total, declined 10.7 percent to €8.19 billion

The Report analyses the varied impact of COVID-19 by region and sector, the vital role of long-term government support and direct measures for creators by societies, the continuing losses caused by lockdowns in 2021, and the outlook for recovery in 2022. 

CISAC members’ strategic responses to the pandemic are highlighted in case studies in Brazil, Croatia, France, Germany, Mexico, Senegal, South Korea, UK, US, and Vietnam.

The report shows how COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to digital in the usage mix of creators’ royalties. But the large majority of creators are still earning marginal income from digital, which represents just over one quarter of collections globally.

CISAC President Björn Ulvaeus: ‘Today, creators work in an inequitable eco-system. If we accept that the song – or the creative work of any repertoire – is the foundation of our creative industries, why do we then accept the near-invisibility of the creator in the commercial value chain? When I took on the presidency of CISAC in May 2020, the subjugation of the creator was already a massive issue. Then COVID struck, highlighting two things. First, that streaming is fast heading towards being the most important source of creators’ earnings in the future. And second, that streaming revenues, however fast they grow, are currently simply not providing a fair reward when shared across millions of individual recipients.’

Andrea Czapary Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, said: ‘The Global Collections Report 2021 confirms the challenges we predicted the pandemic would bring. Naturally, streaming revenue has increased however, this cannot negate the monumental loss seen across the entire music landscape. The songwriter, composer, and publisher community has shown great strength and resilience during the last 20 months. At PRS for Music, we delivered an Emergency Relief Fund and record distributions, while driving down costs, during this unprecedented time to support members. Now, more than ever, we must collectively ensure that we nurture all those creators who enrich our cultural landscape and our lives.’