German Rights Body GEMA Narrowly Tops a Billion in Revenue for Third Year

Berlin, Germany
Ronny Behnert/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Berlin, Germany

German collection society GEMA announced on Tuesday it generated revenues of €1.019 billion ($1.15 billion) in 2018, with €859.5 million being paid out to its 74,000 members worldwide.

As expected, income from the licensing of physical sound recordings, such as CDs or vinyl, continued to decline in 2018. The 15.7 percent drop to €81 million (2017: €96.1 million) reinforced that music users are increasingly leaving physical media behind in favor of digital platforms. Income from TV and radio usage rose slightly by 2.58 percent to €301.8 million (2017: €294.2 million). In the online sector, a strong growth was registered and the €100 million threshold was surpassed for the first time. Earnings rose from €70 million to €105.5 million -- a plus of more than 50 percent.

"The very positive earnings trend in the online sector confirms that more music is used via the internet than ever before," said GEMA CEO Dr. Harald Heker in Munich. "This development must not distract from the fact that a huge gap still exists between the remuneration for music authors and the revenue of big online platforms."

Heker added, "As expected, the biggest growth stems from internet and streaming providers’ income which increased by €35.5 million compared to the previous year, thus reaching €105.5 million. The decline of conventional sound recordings accelerated once more."

The 2018 result for GEMA is actually €55 million lower than in the previous year, since considerable extraordinary income from 2017 did not apply. If this one-off effect was adjusted accordingly, the numbers would show a plus of 10.3 percent. In relation to the earnings, the total expenditure amounted to €159.7 million (2017: €160.7 million).

In his comments, Heker also gave a positive assessment of copyright reforms recently passed by the European Union. "The current EU reform lays the foundation for a modern copyright which is adapted to the challenges of the digital age," he said. "The new EU regulations have the objective to finally create a legal basis for the conclusion of licence agreements between online platforms and creators. We therefore consider this to be a strengthening of the creative and cultural industries in Europe."


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