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PRS FOR MUSIC STREAMS TO HALF A BILLION

British PRO PRS for Music distributed a record-breaking £527.6m to its members in the U.K. and worldwide in 2016—up 11% (£57.2m) on a constant currency basis from 2015. The rise was largely due to a 160% increase in income from streaming, which hit £61.5m (up £37.8m).

PRS reps 125.5k music creators in the U.K., and 2m worldwide. Its membership is up 33% year-on-year, and the number of songs and musical works earning money rose by 45% to 4.2m in 2016.

Total revenues collected by PRS increased 10.1% by £57.2m to £621.5m last year. The PRO had a cost to income ratio of 12.8%—costs hit £77.4m while charitable donations were £2.7m.

Revenue earned from music online rocketed 90% by £38.1m to hit £80.5m. While streaming counts for 76% of that, downloads rep just 7%—down 10% on 2015 to £5.5m. A £1.5m year-on-year increase in gaming revenue to £4.1m was a result of interim payments from a Sony PlayStation pending license finalisation.

The largest income strand for PRS is music played abroad, which rose 5% (£11.2m) to £233.7m in 2016 (it’s a slower rate of growth to 2015’s 10.4% rise thanks to the weakening of the pound). 59% of that is from Europe, 20% from North America, 11% Asia Pacific and 5% developing/emerging markets. The rest comes from cruise lines, agencies and other (including direct licensing).

Public performance and live grew 4.6% to £183.2m. That was down to a 9.2% rise in live with cash coming from an additional 7.6k concerts and festivals, plus rising revenues from hotels and restaurants, industrial premises and cinemas. Broadcast revenues were stable.

In 2016, over 4.3 trillion uses of music were reported to the organisation from across the globe—that’s increased 34x over the last five years (the figure was 126bn in 2012). The improved collection is due to investments in new tech while collaborative ventures such as ICE—PRS’ pan-European partnership with affiliate societies GEMA (Germany) and STIM (Sweden)—also helped to drive online revenue from digital platforms.

PRS for Music CEO Robert Ashcroft (pictured) celebrated the “landmark year” while warning over “very real challenges in the online market,” and welcoming the European Commission’s proposed clarification of copyright law. He continued: “These [reforms] are critical to the development of a healthy and sustainable online market for music. We hope the European Parliament and Council, including own our government, support its recommendations.”

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