PRS: Record royalties paid to songwriters and composers

6.6 trillion performances of music reported to PRS from across the globe

PRS for Music logo

PRS (Performing Right Society) is celebrating record financial results as the organisation that represents the rights of over 130,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and two million worldwide, once again, in 2017, paid more royalties to music creators than ever before. PRS distributed an all-time high of £605.1m to its members for the use of their musical works, an increase of £77.5m, up 14.7% on 2016. 

With 6.6 trillion performances of music reported to PRS last year, 53% more than in 2016, including streams, downloads, broadcasts and live music shows, the music licensing company collected a record £717m on behalf of its members, an increase of 12.7% (£80.7m) year-on-year.

International revenue generated from members’ music played abroad reached a new milestone, with over a quarter of a billion pounds (£261.4m) in revenue received, up 5.2%, or £12.9m, year-on-year on a constant currency basis. This is a reflection of the continuing popularity of PRS members’ repertoire across the globe, with several major live world tours and international chart successes in 2017 contributing to the result.  

Revenue from music played via online platforms saw the most significant uplift at 52.7% (£42.4m) to £122.9m, driven by new multi-territory licensing deals brokered with leading digital platforms via PRS’ joint venture partner, ICE.

Broadcast revenues increased 8.5% 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% to £198.1m. As well as strong results from pubs, clubs and the fitness sector, high profile UK tours from Ed Sheeran, Adele, who concluded her latest world tour in London, and Little Mix, with one of the highest grossing girl group tours in history, contributed to the result.


PRS has achieved 40% revenue growth over the last five years, equating to more than a £200m increase in income revenue since 2013. 2017 was another record year, during which we paid out royalties on 4.4 million musical compositions, as our long-term strategy of investing in technology and data, as well as collaborating with other collecting societies, continues to pay dividends. In particular, I would like to single out our online revenues, which grew by 52.7%, to £122.9m. This was driven by improved multinational licensing agreements, new mandates with digital platforms and the growth of streaming services. 

There is much, however, still to do and it is critical that we continue to make progress in ensuring fair remuneration for the use of our members’ works on digital music platforms. We look forward to an equal marketplace, where all online platforms, including those that host user-generated content, pay music creators fairly for their work.

Robert Ashcroft, CEO, PRS for Music

Overview - PRS 2017 Financial Performance:

International: Up 5.2% to £261.4m on a constant currency basis, reflecting the enduring demand for PRS members’ music worldwide. Europe remains the largest contributor to PRS international revenue, while North American income was driven by the continuing US chart success of PRS songwriters. Emerging markets such as China, South Korea and Japan, show promise for future revenue income. 

Online: Up 52.7% to £122.9m, driven by improved multinational licensing, new mandates with digital platforms and the growth of streaming services. PRS streaming income increased by 68.6% (£42.2m) year-on-year. 

Public Performance: Up 8.1% to £198.1m. Despite the relative maturity of this market, PRS’ customer base continued to grow as a result of PRS’ longstanding strategy of communicating the value of music to businesses. The live sector experienced strong growth driven by an increase in UK concerts and festivals taking place throughout the year.

Broadcast: Up 8.5% to £134.6m. Additional royalties following the successful conclusion of the ITV Copyright Tribunal proceedings totalled £9.5m, of which £7.2m relates to 2014-2016, carried through to 2017 results. 

NB: All income revenue figures are shown on a constant currency basis


Notes to Editors:

* The terminology of ‘performances’ in this context includes downloads, streams, live performances, and online, radio and television broadcasts of songs and compositions. 

The 2017 PRS financial results will be presented at the Annual General Meeting at the British Library Conference Centre on 24 May 2018.

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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