CEO Andrea Czapary Martin on how PRS For Music is set to beat its £1 billion distribution target

CEO Andrea Czapary Martin on how PRS For Music is set to beat its £1 billion distribution target

PRS For Music CEO Andrea Czapary Martin has spoken about building “strong foundations” at the collection society, which has helped it bounce back following the pandemic.

PRS For Music is ahead of schedule in terms of its target to achieve £1 billion in distributions by 2026.

The UK-based rights management organisation, which represents more than 165,000 writers, composers, and music publishers globally, collected a record £964 million on a constant currency basis in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 22.9%. As well as being a strong post-pandemic recovery, it represents an increase of £154m on the previous high of £810m achieved in 2019. 

The organisation achieved the results with a record low cost-to-income ratio of 9.3%, efficiency gains which increase the amount available to distribute to members. The target of getting below 10% was achieved four years early. 

“To have this performance is incredible,” Andrea Czapary Martin told Music Week.  “I think what drove this, and what will continue to drive this, is to really maximise the value of all the strong foundations that I’ve built with the team in the last three years. It’s about being brilliant at the basics and being innovative in finding new solutions.”

Martin described the 18.9% increase on 2019’s results - before the pandemic hit - as “incredible”.

“We more than bounced back in all areas,” she said.

Last year, PRS For Music paid out a record £836.2m of royalties, a 23.5% increase on 2021. The quarterly distribution in October alone was in excess of £211m, the largest single distribution in the organisation’s 108-year history. 

It means that PRS is on track to reach its target of £1 billion paid out in royalties ahead of the 2026 date.

“When I put [the five-year plan] together a lot of people said, ‘How are we going to make £1 billion in royalties?’” Martin told Music Week. “[But] we bounced back with [an extra £159m] in royalties paid out to our members in 2022, which is quite something”

Music streaming continues to be the biggest single revenue source, contributing £284.3m to overall online royalties of £334m (up by 25% on 2021). PRS writer members featured on many of the most streamed hits of 2022, including Go by Cat Burns and As it Was by Harry Styles

“In 2022, we had 33 major licence and new licence agreements,” said Martin. “We had a landmark agreement with Twitch, which is a very important partner, we licensed NFTs and we licensed the metaverse. So better agreements and new agreements are really driving the commercial side and the revenue side, and really bringing as much money to our members as possible.”

New partnerships include Roblox and Fortnite. 

“It is dipping our toe into it,” said Martin. “Our success story is [based on] being brilliant at the basics, but also being innovative and pioneering. We have to be there… Will the metaverse grow? We'll see. But we have to make sure that when music is played on those platforms that they are licensed.”

In terms of NFTs, PRS licensing last year included Muse’s album Will Of The People.

Last year also marked the first collections following a licensing deal with TikTok (via ICE).

“It’s a good relationship,” said Martin. “It took us a while to get the licence - it's through our joint venture ICE - but we've been very involved. ICE did the negotiation, but we were part of the negotiation and we have a good agreement.”

New agreements are driving the revenue, and bringing as much money to our members as possible

Andrea Czapary Martin

PRS reported a rebound in live music, as collections generated £62.7m of royalties, an increase of 683% compared to 2021 and 16.1% on 2019. Over 128,000 live events were reported to PRS For Music across the year in the UK, including major tours from the likes of Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, N-Dubz, The Cure and The Rolling Stones, among others. 

“We have great members who are very successful live - Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Elton John - and many of them did really well last year,” said Martin.

PRS For Music supported the live music sector’s return in 2022, with the launch of its Back To Live Music Venue Prize competition. Six independent music venues across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales were awarded a total of £60,000 of financial support to improve live music experiences for performers and for the local communities they serve.

Overall revenues from public performance, music played or performed in public (shops, restaurants, bars etc) represented the largest year-on-year increase in 2022, up by 66.4% to £228.9m.

Royalties collected from public performance were 3% (£6.7m) higher than 2019 (£222.2m), the last full year unaffected by lockdowns. Through 2022, customers were supported as they fully reopened their businesses by PPL PRS, the joint licensing venture established by PRS For Music and PPL.  

PRS members scored music for many of the year’s blockbuster movies, including Grammy winner Lorne Balfe (Top Gun: Maverick), Academy Award winner Chandrabose (RRR), Steve Angello (Avatar: The Way of Water) and U2 (Sing 2). Members’ compositions ensured overall royalties collected from cinemas were up by 325% (£5.3m) compared to 2021, as the film industry returned to normal operations.

This year, PRS for Music concluded new agreements with Apple TV+ and Amazon for its Freevee service. The increase of revenues from video-on-demand (VOD) platforms by 16.5% contributed £40.2m to online royalties compared to the previous year. 

As well as Emmy-nominated Martin Phipps (The Crown) and Natalie Holt (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Loki), Kate Bush made a global impact with Running Up That Hill when it was featured in Netflix sci-fi drama Stranger Things.

As audiences continue to diversify the way they access media, revenue from linear UK broadcast television declined by 2.4% compared to 2021, totalling £76.5m in 2022.  Commercial radio royalties, driven by advertising, continued to show signs of growth, increasing by 2.6% year-on-year to £52.2m.

International revenues showed strong signs of recovery following the global pandemic, totalling £272.4m in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 8.8%. Overseas royalty income remains below pre-pandemic levels, 2.3% lower than 2019.

Key international chart successes include Glass Animals’ Heat Waves. PRS members also had writing credits on hits achieving significant success on US radio, including Woman by Doja Cat, The Motto by Tiësto & Ava Max and Essence by Wizkid.

The North American market experienced a substantial revenue increase of 22.4% to £84.1m, with streaming and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms generating record online royalties for 2022, alongside live performance revenue. 

The European market grew 7.5% in 2022 to £148.3m, predominantly due to the recovery in live touring, particularly those using PRS’ Major Live Concert Service including Coldplay, Iron Maiden and Sting.

PRS For Music continues to be a leading advocate for greater transparency and cooperation in the management of industry data. In 2022, it announced the creation of a new works metadata portal, Nexus. Due to launch in 2023, the pioneering initiative will make it easier for streaming services to provide writer credits alongside existing performing artist information.

PRS welcomed almost 7,000 new writer, composer and publisher members in 2022. At the beginning of 2023, it confirmed a new funding agreement with its charity arm PRS Foundation.


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