PRS for Music reports a dramatic recovery from the pandemic, with record-breaking revenues as collections approached £1 billion in 2022.
PRS for Music, the UK-based rights management organization representing the rights of over 165,000 writers, composers, and music publishers globally, collected a record-breaking £964 million ($1.196 billion) in 2022 — a year-on-year increase of 22.9 percent (£179.4 million).
These results show a “dramatic recovery” following the global pandemic and an 18.9-percent increase (£154 million) over the previous high of £810 million achieved in 2019, the last full year unaffected by lockdowns.
Last year, PRS for Music paid out an unprecedented £836.2 million in royalties, a 23.5 percent (£159 million increase over 2021. The quarterly distribution in October alone was more than £211 million — the largest single distribution in the organization’s 108-year history.
Moreover, these results came at a historically low cost-to-income ratio of 9.3 percent, excluding charitable donations and subsidies, meeting the target of achieving a cost-to-income ratio below 10 percent in the first year of its five-year plan.
“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,” says Andrea Czapary Martin (pictured), CEO of PRS for Music.
“Through our ambitious licensing strategy and utilizing our joint ventures, we have maximized 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 £284.3 million to overall online royalties of £334 million — up 25 percent (£66.8 million) from 2021. PRS writer members featured on many of the most-streamed hist of 2022 on the Official UK Charts, including “Go” by Cat Burns and “As It Was” by Harry Styles. Streaming’s dominance was reflected in the continued decline in music downloads, with royalties in 2022 falling by 75% to £0.6m.
The strength of the rebound in live music is the “big story” of 2022, as royalty collections generated £62.7 million in royalties — a 683 percent (£54.7 million) increase compared to 2021 and 16.1 percent (£8.7 million) over 2019. Over 128,000 live events were reported to PRS for Music throughout the year in the UK, including major tours from stars like Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, N-Dubz, The Cure, The Rolling Stones, and many more.
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 independent 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 the local communities they serve.
Overall revenues from public performances — including music played or performed in places like shops, restaurants, and bars — represented the largest year-on-year increase in 2022, up by 66.4 percent (£91.3 million) to £228.9 million compared to 2021. Royalties collected from public performance were three percent (£6.7 million) higher than in 2019 (£222.2 million).