Brett Cottle

Brett Cottle

Australasian collecting society APRA AMCOS reported record revenue of a third of a billion Australian dollars for its financial year 2015-2016, thanks in no small part to a gain of more than A$20 million ($15 million) in digital revenue.

APRA AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle said the organizations enjoyed “an exceptional year”as overall revenue grew 11% year-on-year to A$333 million ($254 million), and net distributable revenue rose 8.73% to A$285.5 million ($218 million). 

The group expense ratio inflated to 15.16% as the societies were impacted by heavy investment in new systems, Cottle explained.

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

For both societies, digital revenue -- from downloads to subscription and ad-funded streaming services, video on demand, Websites and user-generated services -- was the main driver for the gains.

In the document, APRA said it registered a 140% boost in streaming revenue to A$27.4 million ($20 million) as digital revenue grew 142% to A$67.8 million ($51 million). 

“While revenue from digital services is growing rapidly,” noted Cottle, “the sheer volume of music being consumed is growing exponentially, which means that the fruits of this growth are being spread over a vastly increased pool of songwriters.”

As a standalone entity, APRA reported a 12% rise in revenue grew to A$258 million ($197 million) --  a record rate of growth as well as a record figure -- while its sister collecting society AMCOS enjoyed a 7% gain to A$75 million ($57 million), also a new high, amidst a “generally difficult year,” Cottle explained.

Export revenue surged 12% to A$38.3 million ($29 million) during the timeframe, reflecting “the continuing extraordinary success of Australian and New Zealand music around the world.” Export revenue has increased by 75% in the past three years, during which time the likes of Lorde, Gotye, Sia, Flume, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett and Troye Sivan have emerged as stars on a global stage. 

Revenue from broadcasting during the reporting period grew by 4.6% to $$114 million ($87 million) while licence fees from public performance improved by more than 6% to nearly $69 million ($52 million).

Cottle sounded out by firing a salvo at the Australian and New Zealand governments for their failure to adequately support the markets’ music communities. The situation continues to “aggravate, surprise and disappoint that governments on both sides of the Tasman fail to treat music as a commercial art form worthy of support or investment at a level that is reasonable and proportionate to other creative art forms,” he noted. “Even the most modest programs – delivering obvious and major benefits – such as Sounds Australia and the Live Music Office, have come under short-sighted and ill-informed threat. It’s long past time that governments and their advisors woke up and listened to the music." 

APRA boasts more than 89,000 members, while AMCOS counts more than 16,000 members.