Global Creators’ Royalty Collections Up 5.8% — But Still Below Pre-COVID Levels

Global creators' royalty collections
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Global creators' royalty collections
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Photo Credit: micheile dot com

Global creators’ collections are up 5.8% in 2021 but still below pre-COVID levels, according to the key highlights from the 2022 Global Collections Report by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).

Despite a 27.9% increase in digital royalties aided by the growth of subscription-model streaming, global royalty collections in 2021 were still 5.3% lower than in 2019. Still, there has been growth in royalty collections of all repertoires, rising 5.8% last year compared to 2020. These numbers illustrate the effect of the two-year lockdown on live and public performance income, the potential for further digital growth, and the need to unlock additional value for creators in the streaming market.

New and expanded-upon digital licensing deals by CISAC member societies, paired with streaming and subscription growth, helped digital collections increase by 27.9%. But digital collections only make up 32.6% of all royalty collections, so the lack of additional royalties from live and public performances has still been noticeable. 

“After the 10% fall experienced in 2020, our societies’ return to growth last year is an impressive achievement. Bearing in mind that income from live concerts and public venues was largely non-existent, the acceleration of digital licensing by many of our members to offset the decline in other areas is a real success story,” says Gadi Oron, CISAC Director.

“The recovery is only half done, though. There is, without a doubt, much more room for growth, and to achieve that, we need to bring more value to creative works in the digital market and promote a fairer ecosystem for creators.”

Music was the only repertoire to report increased royalties in 2021, with a growth of 7.2%, compared with income from TV and radio — creators’ most significant royalty stream — which saw a decline of 1.8% in 2021.

CISAC President Björn Ulvaeus adds: “Digital royalties collected by CISAC societies are growing impressively, but the streaming world is still unfinished business when it comes to ensuring a fair environment to earn a living. Too much of the data needed to identify and remunerate creators is incomplete or missing when works are ingested on streaming services. The result is a lot of money that is left on the table when it should be going into creators’ pockets.”

“We need to see this year not just as a return to normality, but as a bridge to the next phase,” concludes Marcelo Castello Branco, CISAC Board Chair. “In the near term, we face the prospect of economic slowdown ahead and the risks that come with the unusual combination of inflation and recession. Subscription prices are already undervalued and need to be raised, with prices having barely changed since the early days of the streaming model. Fair value and fair terms are essential so as not to compromise the remuneration of rightsholders.”