UK songwriter online royalties top £51m

PRS for Music announces £641.8m collected in 2012 and UK songwriter online royalties top £51m

PRS for Music today reported a record £641.8m collected in royalties for songwriters, composers and music publishers in the 2012 fiscal year, a 1.7% increase on 2011.

Expansion in the online market, especially streaming services, netted £51.7m in music royalties.  This is the highest figure to date and up 32.2% on 2011’s £38.5m. Over the last five years average annual growth for online has been 27%.  New licensing deals with Google Play, Vevo and Microsoft Xbox and the renewal of existing agreements means UK creators now receive 8% of their royalty income from online music services. 

The organisation collects royalties for over 95,000 members and licenses in excess of 350,000 UK businesses including 300 radio stations and 450 television channels. Royalties from broadcasters in 2012 rose by 3.1% to £153m representing almost 24% of overall income for music creators.

International revenues suffered a decline of 4.1% due to significant exchange rate losses, specifically because of the Euro and a challenging economic climate in many countries. Despite these challenges, international royalty revenue provided UK music creators with their single largest source of income at £180.1m. 2012 was a year when UK songwriters continued to dominate internationally with Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran and Calvin Harris enjoying global chart success and other prominent writers seeing their music accompany television and film content worldwide.


Copyright remains fundamental to the continued success of our members both at home and abroad, while the ever-increasing importance of licensed online services such as iTunes and Spotify underlines the value of music to the internet economy.

Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music Chief Executive

Royalty revenue collected

£ Million 2011



Revenue - royalties 630.80



Interest and other income 4.5 4.6


Total revenue




Costs 76.5



Charitable donations 1.5



Net Distributable Revenue 557.3



Royalty revenue collected by source

£ Million

2011 2012 %
Broadcast 148.4 153 3.1%
Online 39.1 51.7 32.2%
International 187.7 180.1 -4.0%
Public Performance 131.4 135.4 3.0%
Live 22.5 19.3 -14.2%
Recorded Media 101.7 102.3 0.6%
Total 630.8 641.8 1.7%

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the UK and around the world. On behalf of its members, it works diligently to grow and protect the value of their rights and ensure that creators are paid transparently and efficiently whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. In 2021, 27 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £677.2m paid out in royalties to its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.

PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

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