PRS for Music reports record-breaking revenues and distributions

The organisation collected £964 million in 2022, increasing distributions by 23.5%.

Liam Konemann
  • By Liam Konemann
  • 25 Apr 2023
  • min read

PRS for Music collected a record £964m in 2022, a year-on-year increase of £179.4m. These landmark results indicate not only a dramatic recovery following the global pandemic, but an increase of 18.9% on the previous high of £810m achieved in 2019.

Last year, PRS for Music paid out an unprecedented £836.2m of royalties, a 23.5% (£159m) increase on 2021. The quarterly distribution in October alone was in excess of £211m, the largest single distribution in the organisation’s 108-year history. 

Music streaming continues to be the most popular way for fans to access music, contributing £284.2m to overall online  royalties of £334m, up by £66.8m on 2021. PRS writer members featured on many of the most streamed hits of 2022 on the Official UK Charts , including Cat Burn's Go and As it Was by Harry Styles. The dominance of streaming was reflected in the continued decline in music downloads, with royalties in 2022 falling by 75% to £0.6m.

The big story of 2022 was the rebound in live music, as royalty collections generated £62.7m in payments, an increase of 683% compared to 2021 and 16.1% (£8.7m) on 2019. Over 128,000 live events were reported to PRS for Music across the year in the UK.

Overall revenues from public performance, music played or performed in shops, restaurants or bars, represented the largest year-on-year increase in 2022, up by 66.4% to £228.9m compared to the previous year. Royalties collected from public performance were 3% (£6.7m) higher than 2019 (£222.2m), the last full year unaffected by lockdowns.

PRS members scored music for many of the year’s blockbusters, including GRAMMY Award winner Lorne Balfe (Top Gun: Maverick), Academy Award winner Chandrabose (RRR), Steve Angello (Avatar: The Way of Water) and U2 (Sing 2).  Members’ compositions ensured overall royalties collected from cinemas, as the film industry returned to normal operations, were up by 325.0%. This year, PRS for Music concluded new agreements with Apple TV+ and Amazon for its Freevee service. The increase of revenues from video-on-demand (VOD) platforms by 16.5% (£5.7m) contributed £40.2m to online  royalties compared to the previous year. UK music creators scored many of the standout moments in 2022, including Emmy-nominated Martin Phipps (The Crown) and Natalie Holt (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Loki) and Kate Bush, whose song Running Up That Hill experienced a major resurgence when it was featured in Netflix sci-fi drama Stranger Things.

As audiences continue to diversify the way they access media, revenue from linear UK broadcast television declined by 2.4% (£1.9m) compared to 2021, totalling £76.5m in 2022. Commercial radio royalties, driven by advertising, continued to show signs of growth, increasing by 2.6% (£1.3m) year-on-year to £52.2m.

International revenues showed strong signs of recovery following the global pandemic, totalling £272.4m in 2022, year-on-year increase of 8.8% (£21.9m) , restrictions and lockdowns differing from territory to territory throughout. 2022 sees overall overseas royalty income remain below pre-pandemic levels, 2.3% (£6.3m) lower than 2019.

The North American market experienced substantial revenue increase of 22.4% (£15.4m) to £84.1m, with streaming and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms generating record online royalties for 2022, alongside live performance revenue following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. The European market grew 7.5% (£10.4m) in 2022 to £148.3m, predominantly due to the recovery in live touring. 

Speaking on the results, Andrea Czapary Martin, CEO of PRS for Music, said: 'In 2021, PRS for Music set out its vision to pay out over £1 billion in royalties within the next five years, last year we accelerated progress towards, and beyond, this milestone. Through our ambitious licensing strategy and utilising our joint ventures we have maximised the value of members works at every opportunity. While our investment in new technologies and services means we can pay out royalties more quickly and accurately, delivering the best possible service to members at a market leading low cost-to-income ratio.'