PRS for Music reports £3.8m year-on-year increase in July royalty distribution

Warnings issued on future distributions

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With warnings of future revenue downturn in the wake of Covid-19, PRS for Music today reports a £3.8m increase in royalties paid out to members and sister societies in its July distribution, compared to the same period in 2019. The £132.4m payment represents a 3% increase year-on-year.

Over 145,500 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and worldwide are represented by PRS for Music, with royalties paid to members when their music is streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed live and played in public.

While some revenue decreases are starting to emerge following the initial impact of Covid-19 on the music industry and UK businesses in late March, July’s strong distribution also follows a record-breaking April distribution earlier this year.

In a bid to mitigate the financial impact faced by some members during this unprecedented and unpredictable time, PRS has increased processing of online revenue data to ensure the time from stream to payment is minimised wherever possible. July’s distribution includes the largest ever distribution for YouTube User Generated Content as PRS for Music continues its mission to maximise member income in 2020 and beyond.

Music played overseas continues to drive royalty payments for PRS members, with international payments totalling £37.4m in July’s distribution, up 3% against the same period in 2019. PRS for Music’s international arm is renowned worldwide for its promotion of transparency and accuracy, as well as best practices in collection efficacy. This sum has been achieved through a global network of agreements with partner societies, revenues from PRS managed territories, direct licensing, and digital exploitation. International collections have not seen an immediate impact from Covid-19 due to the lag in the flow of revenues from international markets, but a downturn is expected later this year and into 2021.

Revenue from music used across video-on-demand offerings including Apple, Netflix and Amazon Prime, saw a notable increase year-on-year, with distributions up £3.1m on 2019. Overall, payments from traditional broadcast platforms, TV and radio, increased by 22% year-on-year however, the early impact of Covid-19 can be seen across analogue radio revenue distributions, down -5% due to a decline in commercial radio advertising revenue compared to the same period in 2019.

With the fall-off of music played in shops, cafés, restaurants, jukeboxes, fitness classes, cinemas and general business due to lockdown in late March, public performance revenue has seen a slight -2% decline compared to the same period last year, but still remains one of the highest revenue streams for PRS members in this payment, with £22.8m distributed in July. As the cancellation of live music events has not yet affected PRS royalty distributions, public performance revenue is predicted to be one of the most heavily impacted revenue streams from October 2020 onwards, reflecting the full and ongoing impact of Covid-19 in this area.


As this distribution covers revenue collected mostly prior to Covid-19, we are only just starting to see the impact of the pandemic on royalty payments in July’s distribution. This will mean a further reduction in the royalties usually seen from Live, Public Performance, Commercial Radio, and International from October 2020 onwards.

We are doing everything we can to maximise return and minimise risk to future distributions for all of our members through this period of significant disruption. We have taken immediate action to make considerable cost savings including a recruitment freeze, reduced hours and salary reduction for some employees throughout the pandemic, cancellation of employee bonuses related to 2020 performance, and have cut back on all non-people costs wherever possible. Our PRS Emergency Relief Fund, in collaboration with our charity partners PRS Foundation and PRS Members’ Fund, also raised over £2.1m to help those members most in need throughout the crisis. 

With over 3,600 new members joining PRS for Music so far this year, an increase of 18% on the first half of 2019, talent, creativity, and productivity amongst songwriters and composers is thriving. We continue to work hard to ensure that we are distributing accurate and timely royalties, from every revenue stream, as quickly as possible. We are incredibly proud to have paid out over £368m in the first half of this year, up 13% on 2019, and thankful to our dedicated teams and experts working tirelessly to make this happen.

Andrea C. Martin, CEO, PRS for Music

PRS for Music continues to assess the financial impact of Covid-19 on the music industry and will be communicating more on this to members in the coming weeks.

PRS members can check their royalty payment amounts via their online accounts or the PRS app now, with money reaching accounts on 15 July.

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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