UK Songwriting Talent Earning In 155 Countries

PRS for Music reports international income has more than doubled in the last decade

PRS for Music the organisation that represents the UK’s songwriters, composers and music publishers has announced that income from its members’ music used internationally has grown over 250% in the last decade.   During 2009 UK songwriting earned £166.9m from 155 countries globally, up 19.4% on 2008 (2008 = £139.8m).   

The huge increase from £66m income in 1999 has come about through a proactive effort to enhance licensing in existing countries and expand music into new areas, coupled with the continued popularity of UK music abroad.    Britain is one of only three net exporters of music globally with the others being the United States and Sweden.

Highlights of the last decade include:

  • The most important overseas markets for UK music are USA, France, Germany and Japan 
  • Rapid growth in income from ‘emerging’ markets ranging from Brazil (up 448%) to Romania (up 8,689%)
  • Income from UK music used on television is now over £50.4m due to the global success of British TV formats such as X Factor and international shows featuring British music in soundtracks
  • Digital income through download and streaming services has grown rapidly but is still small at £1.8m in 2009

Robert Ashcroft Chief Executive of PRS for Music said:  “These are very strong figures which reaffirm the success of British songwriters and the British music industry on the global stage. Even in a recession, British musical talent is able to the make money in markets ranging from Brazil to Romania.  Music is a great British success story around the globe and we are working hard to continue this growth throughout 2010.” 

Whilst much success has been achieved in licensing the use of British music when it is played, performed or reproduced internationally there are still countries where the enforcement of copyright and intellectual law is not as strong.   The Middle East and India both represent growth opportunities as British music is popular although revenues are currently small, and although local music is the stronger player the sheer size of the Chinese market also represents a significant territory for future growth.  

Robert Ashcroft added: “We are working with many stakeholders and developing partnerships in a range of countries to encourage the enforcement of workable copyright law including licensing music users directly”.