PRS for Music reports record-breaking revenues and distributions

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.

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 the effervescent 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, among others.

PRS for Music took active steps to support the live music sector’s return in 2022, with the launch of its Back to Live Music Venue Prize competition. Six incredible independent music venues across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales were awarded a total of £60,000 of much-needed financial support to improve live music experiences for performers and for the local communities they serve.

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 2019 (£222.2m), the last full year unaffected by lockdowns. Through 2022, customers were supported as they fully reopened their businesses by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint licensing venture established by PRS for Music and PPL. 

PRS members scored music for many of the year’s blockbusters, including GRAMMY Award winner Lorne Balfe (Top Gun: Maverick), Academy Award winner Chandrabose (RRR), Steve Angello (Avatar: The Way of Water) and U2 (Sing 2).  Members’ compositions ensured overall royalties collected from cinemas, as the film industry returned to normal operations, were up by 325% (£5.3m) compared to 2021.

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. UK music creators scored many of the standout moments in 2022, including Emmy-nominated Martin Phipps (The Crown) and Natalie Holt (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Loki) and Kate Bush, who achieved global acclaim and captured the attention of new audiences with the song Running Up That Hill when it was featured in Netflix sci-fi drama Stranger Things.

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.

Key international chart successes saw Glass Animals’ song Heat Waves go multi-platinum in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in the US. PRS members also had writing credits on hits achieving significant success on US Radio, including Woman by Doja Cat, The Motto by Tiësto & Ava Max and Essence by Wizkid.

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, particularly those using PRS’s Major Live Concert Service™ including multi award-winning Coldplay, heavy metal powerhouse Iron Maiden, and iconic songwriter Sting.

PRS for Music continues to be a leading advocate for greater transparency and co-operation in the management of industry data. In 2022, it announced the creation of a new works metadata portal, Nexus. Due to launch in 2023, the pioneering initiative will make it easier for streaming services to provide writer credits alongside existing performing artist information.

PRS welcomed almost 7,000 new writer, composer and publisher members in 2022.At the beginning of 2023 PRS confirmed a new agreement with its charity arm PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading independent investor in new music, ensuring the next generation of songwriters and composers will continue to create world-leading music in the decades to come.

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Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.