PRS for Music enjoys record year with revenues of £964 million
PRS for Music, the UK-based rights management organisation which represents the rights of over 165,000 writers, composers, and music publishers globally, collected a record £964m in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 22.9% (£179.4m). These landmark results indicate not only a dramatic recovery following the global pandemic but an increase of £154m (18.9%) on the previous high of £810m achieved in 2019.
Last year, PRS for Music paid out an unprecedented £836.2m of royalties, a 23.5% (£159m) increase on 2021. The quarterly distribution in October alone was in excess of £211m, the largest single distribution in the organisation’s 108-year history. These ground-breaking results were delivered at a historically low cost-to-income ratio of 9.3%, excluding charitable donations and subsidies, meeting the target of achieving a cost-to-income ratio below 10% four years earlier than its five-year plan.
Andrea Czapary Martin, CEO of PRS for Music, comments: “In 2021, PRS for Music set out its vision to pay out over £1 billion in royalties within the next five years, last year we accelerated progress towards, and beyond, this milestone. Through our ambitious licensing strategy and utilising our joint ventures we have maximised the value of members works at every opportunity.
“While our investment in new technologies and services means we can pay out royalties more quickly and accurately, delivering the best possible service to members at a market-leading low cost-to-income ratio.”
Music streaming continues to be the most popular way for fans to access music, contributing £284.3m to overall online royalties of £334m, up by 25% on 2021 (£66.8m). PRS writer members featured on many of the most streamed hits of 2022 on the Official UK Charts, including Go by Spotify Global RADAR artist and BRIT Award nominee Cat Burns and synth-pop track As it Was by Harry Styles. The dominance of streaming was reflected in the continued decline in music downloads, with royalties in 2022 falling by 75% to £0.6m.
The big story of 2022 was the strength of the rebound in live music, as royalty collections generated £62.7m of royalties, an increase of 683% (£54.7m) compared to 2021 and 16.1% (£8.7m) on 2019. Over 128,000 live events were reported to PRS for Music across the year in the UK, including major tours from the likes of Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, N-Dubz, The Cure and The Rolling Stones.
Overall revenues from public performance, music played or performed in public (i.e., shops, restaurants, bars etc.) represented the largest year-on-year increase in 2022, up by 66.4% (£91.3m) to £228.9m compared to 2021. Royalties collected from public performance were 3% (£6.7m) higher than in 2019 (£222.2m), the last full year unaffected by lockdowns.
This year, PRS for Music concluded new agreements with Apple TV+ and Amazon for its Freevee service. The increase of revenues from video-on-demand (VOD) platforms by 16.5% (£5.7m) contributed £40.2m to online royalties compared to the previous year.
As audiences continue to diversify the way they access media, revenue from linear UK broadcast television declined by 2.4% (£1.9m) compared to 2021, totalling £76.5m in 2022. Commercial radio royalties, driven by advertising, continued to show signs of growth, increasing by 2.6% (£1.3m) year-on-year to £52.2m.
International revenues showed strong signs of recovery following the global pandemic, totalling £272.4m in 2022, year-on-year increase of 8.8% (£21.9m), restrictions and lockdowns differing from territory to territory throughout. 2022 sees overall overseas royalty income remain below pre-pandemic levels, 2.3% (£6.3m) lower than 2019.
The North American market experienced substantial revenue increase of 22.4% (£15.4m) to £84.1m, with streaming and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms generating record online royalties for 2022, alongside live performance revenue following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. The European market grew 7.5% (£10.4m) in 2022 to £148.3m, predominantly due to the recovery in live touring.