German Rights Body GEMA Tops a Billion in Revenue for Second Year

Berlin, Germany
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Berlin, Germany.

It wasn't by much, but the German collection society GEMA outdid itself in 2017 by generating more than one billion euros of revenue for the second year in a row. The organization announced on Tuesday receipts of €1.074 billion ($1.33b) in 2017, up ever so slightly from the €1.024 billion it collected on behalf of its 72,000-plus members and rights owners the year prior.

The revenues came from the regional offices (€380.5m, previous year €370.1m), radio and TV (€294.2m, previous year €286.2m) as well as online (after being adjusted to allow for special items: €70.0m, previous year €81.6m). The increases in most of the categories counterbalanced a drop in sound recordings, which dipped below €100 million for the first time in 2017, at €96.1 million.

"The decline by 8.3 percent to €96.1m (2016: €104.9m) is proof of the slow but steady decline of music use by way of sound recordings," said Heker. "The decline in revenue shown in the current report (2017: €70.0m compared to 2016: €81.6m) can be traced back to the new licensing agreement entered into between GEMA and online platform YouTube in 2016 with which a retroactive payment had been agreed upon."

Income from TV and radio usage in the past financial year slightly rose again by 2.8 percent, with a total collection of €294.2 million, compared to €286.2 million the year prior. Here called this old-media sector a "strong and stable pillar of earnings" for the org.

Another influencing factor in terms of the development of GEMA revenues was a further special payment by the Zentralstelle für private Vervielfältigungsrechte (ZPÜ; Central Collection Agency for Private Copying Rights), an umbrella organisation formed by GEMA and eight other collective management organisations in Germany to its member partners. The payment relates back to the agreement made by the ZPÜ with the associations of the hardware industry in 2016 for products like smartphones, tablets and PCs.