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Song right collections top 8.3 billion euros, says CISAC

By | Published on Thursday 8 November 2018


The world’s song right collecting societies – like PRS and MCPS in the UK – together collected 8.3 billion euros in 2017, a 6% increase year-on-year. This is according to the latest stats pack from CISAC, which brings together collective management organisations from across the global that represent the rights of songwriters and music publishers, and in some cases other non-music creators as well. But who cares about them? It’s all about the music stats round here.

Music collections were up in all regions of the world, with digital income increasing 23.1% so that it topped one billion euros for the first time. Though that’s still only 15% of all the monies that flow to songwriters and music publishers through the collective licensing system, the rest coming from things like CD sales, live music, TV, radio and other uses of music in public spaces, plus quirky things like the private copy levy that generated 342 million euros worldwide in 2017.

That said, that 15% figure – which may seem low given the much hyped streaming boom – needs some clarification. First, like with CDs, songwriters and publishers get a relatively small share of monies generated by streaming services, with the majority of the money paid into the music industry being allocated to the recording rights. Whereas with things like radio and TV the song rights and the recording rights usually receive similar payments.

Plus, in the digital space – unlike with things like radio and live – the CISAC figures don’t show the complete picture, because not all the monies paid to songwriters and music publishers by streaming services pass through the collective licensing system.

With Anglo-American repertoire, an increasing number of publishers now do direct deals with the streaming services in many markets. Some of the money generated by those deals – that allocated to the ‘performing rights’ of the song – still flows through the societies and so is captured in the CISAC figures. But some of the money – that allocated to the ‘mechanical rights’ – doesn’t flow through the collective and so isn’t included here.

As more and more publishers start to directly license Anglo-American repertoire to streaming services in more and more territories, the amount of digital income missing from CISAC’s annual stats pack will increase.

Still, CISAC would – somewhat unsurprisingly – also like you to note that digital income, while up 23.1% and accompanied by additional royalties not included in these figures, is still not enough because of the big bad value gap and bloody YouTube. Which is something, of course, European collecting societies hope will be dealt with by the new European Copyright Directive, providing Google doesn’t get a last minute edit of the safe harbour reforming article thirteen.

With that in mind, CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre noted on the publication of the report: “CISAC is at the heart of a battle for the future of over four million creators worldwide. I am passionately involved in this struggle. Europe has now recognised that it is time for change: it is not acceptable for the law to shield large tech monopolies and sustain a systemic injustice for creators. There is now a message to get to the rest of the world: it is time for other governments to sit up and follow”.