Elton John Cannes Film Festival Rocketman photo call © Joe Alvarez
0 5 mins 4 yrs
  • PRS for Music collects record revenue on behalf of its songwriter, composer and music publisher members in 2019 
  • Record £686m in music royalties distributed, an increase of 13.7% year-on-year
  • Total royalty revenues up 8.7% to a record £810.8m, an increase of £65m on a constant currency basis 
  • International royalties from PRS for Music repertoire played abroad generated over £278.7m from 80 countries
  • Royalties from online platforms grew by 24.2% to £179.1m on a constant currency basis
  • Over 18.8 trillion ‘performances’ of music processed by PRS for Music, including streams, downloads, broadcasts and live music shows

PRS for Music record revenuesPRS for Music, the organisation that represents the rights of over 145,500 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and worldwide, collected a record £810.8m on behalf of its members in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 8.7% (£65.0m).

Net costs for collecting royalties reduced 6.7% year-on-year to £87.5m, and after charitable donations of £3.2m, resulted in distributable revenue to members of £721.1m. During the 12 months to 31 December 2019, a record £686m was processed and paid out, an increase of 13.7% on 2018.

International royalty income continues to be the largest revenue stream for PRS for Music members, underlining the enduring popularity of British music overseas. £278.7m was collected through reciprocal agreements with societies around the world, a slight decrease of 1.1% (£3.2m) on 2018, but 33.6% growth over a five year period. Global chart successes and major live world tours from PRS members including Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Florence + the Machine, Phil Collins, and The Rolling Stones contributed to this growth.

Elton John Cannes Film Festival Rocketman photo call © Joe Alvarez
Elton John’ major global tour contributed to the growth © Joe Alvarez

Royalties generated from online platforms, including downloads, online video games, and traditional streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, saw the most significant uplift at 24.2% (£34.9m) to £179.1m, with UK songwriters contributing to many of the biggest streamed hits like Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi and Old Town Road by Lil Nas X, the two highest-performing songs in the official UK charts last year.

In 2018, PRS for Music licensed Mixcloud, Facebook, and Instagram, seeing royalties flow through to music creators for the first time in 2019. Last year, the society also played a significant role in securing fundamental reform of copyright law in Europe, including Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive which requires user-upload platforms to pay for the use of music. UK Government has no plans to adopt the copyright law at this time, but PRS for Music continues to press for a copyright regime that better reflects the online market in the UK, EU, and around the world.

Music used across video-on-demand offerings including Netflix and Amazon Prime, also contributed to the notable uplift in online revenue. Income from broadcasters including the BBC and ITV, totalled £130.8m, up 2.4% on 2018, despite a decline in linear TV viewing and the rise in popularity of video-on-demand.  

PRS for Music record number of processed performances
PRS for Music processed a record number of performances – 18.8tn

Live performances in the UK represent second-biggest are of revenue growth

Live performances of music in the UK and music used in UK business premises (collectively known as Public Performance) saw an increase of 15.7% (£30.2m) on 2018 to £222.2m, PRS for Music’s second-biggest area of revenue growth. 2019 was the first full year of operation for the organisation’s joint venture with PPL, offering hundreds of thousands of businesses the ability to clear all the rights required through the purchase of the TheMusicLicence.

It was a good year for the live music sector, with royalties from live performances climbing 38.8% to £54m in 2019. A rise in music festivals taking place across the UK, such as TRNSMT, Parklife, British Summer Time, Boomtown and the return of Glastonbury, contributed to this result. High-selling UK concerts from PRS members Spice Girls and Take That and UK tours from Ariana Grande, BTS, Drake, Michael Bublé, and P!nk, where PRS members’ repertoire prominently featured, also contributed.