Go Compare advert helps net £10m for UK songwriters

PRS for Music today revealed the most played music in advertising across television and radio for 2012.

The organisation represents  songwriters, composers and music publishers, tracking music used online, in broadcast, in businesses and performed live so creators can make a living from music royalties.

Advertising revenue is a vital source of income for many songwriters and composers.  In 2012 radio advertising accounted for £1.9m in broadcast royalties with television commercials netting £8m for PRS for Music members.  Of all music played on UK commercial television stations, approximately one minute of every ten is used solely in adverts.


Music's role in TV adverts has always been significant, and under-rated, but it's never been more beneficial for songwriters to land that deal. The exposure and reach they can gain by getting a song in a commercial is a huge benefit to the artist, as it allows them to cut through the many thousands of acts that the modern audience has access to. The licence fee and royalties that are generated by the campaign can change a songwriter’s career.

Dan Neale, Head of Music, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

The infamous ‘Go Compare’ advert was played most throughout 2012, followed swiftly by its competitor ‘’ using the Village People’s iconic Y.M.C.A. song - which was a UK Number 1 chart hit when first released in 1978.

Mercury Prize winner, Speech Debelle co-wrote the music used in the Sky commercial, the fourth most performed ad in 2012. Spinnin’ was written by Speech Debelle (aka Corynne Elliot) along with luminary songwriting team, Pat Marks, Dwayne Richards and Michael Lindsay. Lindsay, who pioneered the massive folktronica scene with his band Tunng is an accomplished composer for television and film, working on the ITV re-brand and soundtracking commercials for O2, T-mobile, Littlewoods, Samsung and Honda.


Writing with Mike was a great experience. I love working with people that are from a different musical genre to me so we can bend and wave the sound we're creating. I'm going to Iceland this spring to work with Mike again. It couldn't happen without a supportive and active sync  team; Dean, Adrian, Claire and everyone at Ninja\Big Dada\JIM have been excellent. Sync is an essential source of income for me so I can keep writing and producing music that makes people listen, and PRS for Music helps make that happen.

Speech Debelle

Top 20 Songs In TV And Radio Commercials 2012  

Position Work Title Writer Advert Performed by
1 Over There George M. Cohan Go Compare N/A
2 Y.M.C.A Edward Willis, Jacques Morali, Henri Belolo N/A
3 Eliza's Aria Elena Kats-Chernin Lloyd's TSB Elena Kats-Chernin (Wild Swans ballet)
4 Spinnin' Mike Lindsay, Corynne Elliott, Pat Marks, Jason Richards Sky Speech Debelle
5 Primavera Ludovico Einaudi Santander Ludovico Einaudi
6 The Universal Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, JAMES Steven James, David Rowntree British Gas Blur
7 Shine Gary Barlow, Paul Donald, Paul Robson, Jason Orange, Mark Owen Morrisons Take That
8 Here Come The Girls Allen Toussaint Boots Sugababes
9 Rescue Me Carl Smith, Raynard Miner British Gas Fontella Bass
10 Have Love Will Travel Richard Berry LV Insurance The Sonics
11 Young Folks Peter Moren, John Eriksson, Bjorn Yttling Homebase Peter, Bjorn and John
12 Bring Me Sunshine Sylvia Dee, Arthur Kent Coca-Cola Willie Nelson
13 Busy Olly MUrs, Martin Brammer, Adam Argyle Marks & Spencer Olly Murs
14 Our House Graham Nash B & Q Amber State (cover of Crosby Stills & Nash)
15 Give a Little Love Damian Katkhuda Asda The Mostar Diving Club
16 The Snow Prelude No 3 in C Major Ludovico Einaudi Nationwide Ludovico Einaudi
17 Welcome Home Benjamin P Cooper Nikon Radical Face
18 It's A Good Day Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee Garnier Peggy Lee
19 Barcarolle Jacques Offenbach, Jack Byfield Barclays Arr: Keith J Blainville
20 Ain't No Mountain High Enough Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson DHL Created by Paul Epworth ft. Vula Malinga

1 Revenue generated from ‘sync’ deals for advertisements is a vital source of income for many songwriters. Advertising agencies can pay fees to secure the music they need to make their advert work. In addition to these initial sync fees, songwriters and publishers get paid royalties by PRS for Music every time the advert is broadcast on TV or radio and last year these totalled £10m.

Notes to Editors

PRS for Music is able to track music usage by licensing broadcasters and using reporting technology to collect set lists and song data.
Synchronisation or ‘sync’ teams are responsible for placing music in adverts, films and television dramas.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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