Business News Labels & Publishers

Everything is up in latest PRS financials! Oh, including the costs

By | Published on Friday 6 May 2016

PRS For Music

UK song rights collecting society PRS has announced its financials for 2015. And good news everybody, revenues were up 7% to a record high of £537.4 million. Money distributed to the society’s songwriter and publisher members was up 8.4% on 2014. And running costs were up too! Who doesn’t like an increase?

Says PRS top bloke Robert Ashcroft: “Our numbers for 2015 reinforce PRS’s position as a global leader in collective rights management and our commitment to delivering increasing value to our members. Our revenue growth is fuelled by the strength of the repertoire we represent and the dedication of our people who are critical to our success. As we modernise our operations, our performance will continue to showcase PRS as one of the most efficient collective rights management societies in the world”.

Wondering about those cost increases? Well, Aschroft has an answer for that. “We have had to invest to secure this impressive revenue growth and to position PRS to respond to an increasingly competitive marketplace. With a major joint venture with PPL, the commencement of a new digital transformation programme and some exceptional litigation costs in support of landmark licensing deals, PRS is making positive steps to deliver real value to its members”.

And, he argues, “these initiatives resulted in a relatively modest increase in underlying cost, mostly due to an increase in depreciation charges, but this was significantly outweighed by real, underlying growth in revenues and we are proud of our 2015 results in every way”.

Good times. If you wondered, online income was up 12.8% to £42.4 million, broadcast money was up 4.1% to £124.2 million, while public performance revenues rose by the same percentage amount to £175.2 million. And assorted international income was up 10.4% to £195.6 million on a constant currency basis.

Though fans of general developments in the British collective licensing framework (and hello to all you fans of general developments in the British collective licensing framework) might be more interested by the fact that this year’s stats pack from PRS does not include income generated by the collective licensing of the mechanical rights in songs, which PRS For Music administers on behalf of the UK publishing sector’s separate mechanical rights society MCPS.

MCPS, of course, has been more proactive as a standalone organisation this last year, as it further distances itself from its former joint venture arrangement with PRS. And while PRS continues to do most of the legwork for MCPS, the latter recently put all its operations up for tender, so that could change next year. It probably wont’, but the fact MCPS will now issue its own separate financials is a sign of the body’s growing independence from its former business partner.