GEMA Reports Double-Digit 2022 Revenue Growth, Record Distribution Following ‘Three Hard Years’

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GEMA CEO Harald Heker. Photo Credit: Sebastian Linder

On the heels of “three hard years,” GEMA has reported double-digit 2022 revenue growth as well as a record distribution of over €1 billion.

The Berlin-headquartered collecting society just recently disclosed its 2022 financials in an English-language release and a 100-page-long German-language report. (The latter will be published in English next month.) According to the analysis, the 90-year-old entity’s revenue totaled €1.18 billion during the 12-month stretch – up about 13.38 percent from 2021’s €1.04 billion.

Behind the newer of the sums, GEMA said that it “will be able to distribute” about €1.01 billion to its approximately 90,000 members, or somewhere in the ballpark of 86 percent of revenue. Higher-ups identified €168.6 million worth of expenses for 2022, a roughly €16 million year-over-year (YoY) increase and beneath an initially anticipated 15.6 percent YoY hike.

Regarding the revenue improvement, the society highlighted the collection benefits associated with the rollback of COVID-19 restrictions, pointing particularly to €357.5 million in public performance revenue for the 12-month stretch.

Despite signifying a 43.69 percent boost from 2021, however, the figure failed to crack the €407.4 million in public performance income attributed to pre-pandemic 2019. There were 382,635 fewer music events (described as GEMA-billed functions where “music could be heard”) in Germany during 2022 than 2019, per GEMA.

And as an interesting aside pertaining to the unprecedented damage inflicted upon independent venues by lockdown measures, GEMA also relayed that 47 percent of German concerts had taken place outdoors last summer – up from 35 percent in 2019. Underscoring the corresponding impact upon many indie professionals’ touring plans, GEMA indicated that the number of “big concerts” – or each of those with over 5,000 attendees – actually rose across 2019 and 2022, from 539 to 606.

Shifting to other collections categories, GEMA communicated that revenue deriving from radio and television song usages had slipped by 3.90 percent YoY to €325.1 million, chiefly “because of compensating effects after the previous year’s strong increase, which was due to special effects from the past.”

Meanwhile, “statutory compensation claims” are said to have fallen by about 28 percent YoY to €58.0 million, with physical’s long-running sales decline (excluding vinyl) having resulted in a 9.12 percent YoY mechanical dip to €54.8 million.

Predictably, though, on-demand streaming and other “online debt collection” more than made up for the mentioned decreases by jumping 26.54 percent YoY to €301.3 million for the Zebralution owner. (According to the IFPI’s 2023 report, the German recorded music industry grew 2.2 percent last year, compared to nine percent global growth, and remained the fourth-largest market in the world.)

Addressing the figures and the recovery in a statement, GEMA CEO Harald Heker said in part: “This is a record result. The resurgence of events and music performances means a relief for our members after three hard years. Authors, like almost the entire music and culture industry, have had to make great sacrifices in recent years and now truly deserve this success.”