PRS for Music

PRS reports another year of record royalties to members

The Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced record royalties for its members in 2017, continuing a strong upward trajectory for the organisation over several years.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 23 Apr 2018
  • min read
The Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced record royalties for its members in 2017, continuing a strong upward trajectory for the organisation over several years.

Just over £605m was paid out to songwriters, composers and publishers last year, an increase of £77.5m (14.7 percent) on 2016 figures.

Total revenues rose by 12.7 percent year-on-year to £717m, up £80.7m.

Over the last five years, PRS has achieved 40 percent revenue growth, equating to more than a £200m increase in income since 2013.

This comes against a backdrop of exploding music data, with the organisation confirming that six and a half trillion performances were reported to it last year alone.

By comparison, in 2016, 4.3 trillion music performances were reported to PRS, and in 2012 just 126 billion.

In 2017, international revenues grew by more than five percent (or £12.9m) on a constant currency basis, with more than a quarter of a billion pounds (£261.4m) now coming back to PRS members from use of their music overseas.

The organisation said revenue growth in Europe was particularly strong, driven by solid performance in broadcast and live performance sources.

Income was further boosted by a significant number of major live concerts by PRS members across the region, alongside increased work by the organisation to secure further cable TV money.

Growth in North America was driven by continuing US chart success of PRS writers, bringing in higher revenues from commercial and satellite radio, and subscription services.

Elsewhere, online revenues continued on their exponential growth trajectory, rising 52.7 percent from £80.5m in 2016 to £122.9m in 2017.

Last year, streaming income increased by 68.6 percent (£42.2m), against an industry-wide market growth of around 50 percent.

The society said revenues were boosted by new deals on better terms, licensing mandate transfers, new business and revenue payments which were delayed from 2016.

Multi-territory licensing via PRS’ joint venture ICE became more established in 2017, with a number of key online services transitioning from PRS to ICE licences during the year.

Robert Ashcroft, chief executive of PRS for Music, acknowledged the organisation’s ongoing work and commitment in the online marketplace: ‘When you’ve got a growing market you have to invest in it; you have to track it; you have to develop it and work with it – it doesn’t just happen. Our approach to online is an important part of our strategy.

‘We were the first society to license iTunes and the first to license YouTube; we were the first to license SoundCloud and we have just licensed Facebook. Our strategy has always been to license online services and we have always been pioneers – it has certainly been one of the drivers of our growth in recent years.

‘Over the last year, our joint venture, ICE, has been working with the major players to secure fairer licensing terms, to deliver better value to our members, and has won new publisher mandates.

‘Also, we have invested in new technology to be able to process the growing amount of online data and we have been very active in lobbying for a level playing field to ensure fair competition in the market. We’re looking forward to a major step forward with the publication of the new European Copyright Directive later this year.’

Elsewhere, broadcast revenues increased 8.5 percent in 2017 to £134.6m, despite the continued decline of linear TV viewing and rise in popularity of view-on-demand consumption.

Public performance income grew 8.1 percent to £198.1m. As well as strong results from pubs, clubs and the fitness sector, PRS said that high profile UK tours from Ed Sheeran, Adele and Little Mix, who had one of the highest grossing girl group tours in history, contributed to the result.

Read the PRS for Music press release here for more on the 2017 financial results.