APRA AMCOS Reports Record Annual Revenue

Brett Cottle

Australasian collecting society APRA AMCOS has reported record revenue and distributions to its members for its financial year 2014-2015, and an all all-time high sum of export royalties. 

Group revenue (excluding management fees) grew by 6.4% to A$300.84 million ($218 million) for the year to June 30, 2015, while net distributable revenue increased by 6.9% to A$262.7 million ($191 million). The group expense ratio came in at 12.4%, down slightly from 12.7%.

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It’s the first time in the society’s history that group gross revenue has pushed past A$300 million. And the performing right body’s net distributable revenue has never surpassed A$200 million (or $145 million, up 8%) until now. APRA’s sister mechanical rights organization AMCOS reported a 2.5% gain in distributable revenue during to period to A$62.1 million ($45 million).

APRA’s financials were published in its “Year In Review” report, which can be found here

In the document, APRA said it registered a 26% surge in "export income" to A$34 million ($24 million), with the bulk coming from the U.S. and U.K., markets where APRA notes Sia Furler, Five Seconds of Summer, Lorde and Vance Joy have enjoyed “unprecedented success”. This is "an outstanding achievement,” says APRA CEO Brett Cottle, “and a direct reflection of the rapid internationalization of our business. To our members, Nashville is becoming as important as Melbourne, London is becoming as important as Auckland. This phenomenon will dramatically alter the services to our members in the years ahead. Investment in technology has been a major priority to enable us to manage huge volumes of data, expand our business across the globe and better service our members.”

The report also addresses the “major factor” that video on demand has become over the past year, the Australian government’s introduction into the Copyright Act of so-called “site blocking provisions,” and consumers’ shift away from digital downloads to streaming services. 

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“Transformation of the digital market from downloads to subscription-streaming services was telling,” notes Cottle. “Twelve months ago, nearly half of digital licensing revenue came from downloads. This financial year, this has dropped to one-third and in the FY16 this is likely to be one-quarter of revenue. Streaming service revenue has well and truly taken over.” Cottle describes the launch of Apple Music Down Under as “perhaps the biggest news on the digital front.” Licensing arrangements with Apple’s streaming service were inked shortly before the close of APRA’s financial year. 

Still, it'll be some time before the fledgling streaming market reaches critical mass. By its own calculations, APRA reckons consumer take-up of music streaming services needs to increase four-fold in Australasia to “bring writers and publishers to an income position equivalent to that which was obtained before the steep decline in the record business.” 

APRA boasts nearly 86,000 members, a 4.9% year on year gain, while AMCOS counts more than 15,100 members, a 10.9% increase.