May 28, 2024 2 min read

PRS For Music announces record revenues distributed to rightsholders

PRS For Music has announced that the royalties it distributed to rightsholders in 2023 were up 12.8% year-on-year to £943.6 million. It was also the first year in its 110 year history that the organisation collected over £1 billion in revenues - aided by surging online and live income

PRS For Music announces record revenues distributed to rightsholders

UK performing rights organisation PRS For Music has announced that it paid out a record £943.6 million to songwriters, composers and music publishers in 2023, having collected over £1 billion in revenues for the first time. Among the contributors to this increase were the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool and Download Festival extending its line-up for its 20th anniversary.

“Our remarkable performance in 2023 is a testament to the team's hard work behind the scenes of the music industry”, says CEO Andrea Czapary Martin. “We're not just surpassing financial milestones at the lowest cost-to-income ratio amongst our peers; we're orchestrating a significant shift in the music business. My vision to ascend to a billion pound society in royalties paid out isn’t just a goal - it reflects our commitment to music creators worldwide”.

Total distributions were up 12.8% year-on-year from 2022, and have more than doubled in the last decade. The collecting society also reports that its cost-to-income ratio - how much of the money it collects is spent on admin and running costs - has fallen slightly to 9.2% (down from 9.3% in 2022). This means more of the money PRS brings in can be paid out to its members.

PRS membership also grew by 10,000 in the last twelve months, the highest annual increase the society has ever seen. Many of those new members came from Africa and Asia. In 2023, the organisation represented 41 million compositions and songs from around the world - around 4.5 million more than in 2022. 

Broken down, £360.3 million of the money paid out to rightsholders came from digital platforms (from £366.5 million collected), up 23.2% from 2022. 

Not all digital income on the songs side of the music industry flows through PRS, because many publishers have their own deals with the streaming services and, where that is the case, only a portion of the money flows through the collecting society. So that figure represents what was paid through by PRS rather than total digital income for writers and publishers. 

International income was also up, with distributions rising 19.45% to 284.4 million (from £339.3 million collected). These are revenues that are initially collected by another collecting society elsewhere in the world on behalf of PRS members whose songs have been performed or broadcast, and - in some cases in some countries - streamed. World tours by PRS members including Harry Styles, Sam Smith and Shania Twain helped to boost international collections, with international live income up 93%. 

Public performance income, including music played in bars, shops and at live music events, was up by 10% to £22.8 million, with £188.2 million of that distributed to rightsholders - an increase of 2% on 2022. Tours from Arctic Monkeys, Burna Boy and Busted, as well as Eurovision and Download, were among the drivers of this increase. 

One area where things were less positive was broadcast royalties, so money paid by UK radio stations and TV channels for their use of music. Overall revenues fell by 1% year-on-year to £127.4 million, with distributions dropping by 9.3% to £110.2 million. 

In her statement, Czapary Martin said that PRS is “shaping the future of our business and redefining how rights are managed globally”. In particular, she championed Project Nexus, the data initiative which aims to ensure that songwriter and composer information is linked to recordings prior to release.

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