Strong growth in digital and online services helped push up royalty revenues collected by PRS For Music in 2012 to £641.8 million ($971.8 million) -- a 1.7% rise on the previous year’s total, according to the U.K. collecting society’s latest financial results, which were published today (Apr. 4).   
Royalties from digital services were up 32.2% on 2011, netting a record £51.7 million ($78.3 million) in 2012, up from £39.1 million ($59.2 million) the previous year. PRS attributed new licensing deals with Google Play, Vevo, Rhapsody and Microsoft Xbox, combined with sustained growth in the overall digital sector -- especially streaming services -- with helping to fuel the rise.
PRS says that U.K. music creators now receive 8% of their royalty income from online music services. Meanwhile, royalties from broadcasters rose by 3.1% in 2012 to £153 million ($231.8 million), representing almost 24% of overall income for U.K. music creators.
Despite the global success of U.K. artists like Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons, One Direction and Calvin Harris in 2012, international revenues fell 4.1% to £180.1 million ($273 million), down from £187.7 million ($284.5 million) in 2011. PRS blamed “significant exchange rate losses, specifically because of the Euro and a challenging economic climate in many countries” for the loss. Excluding exchange rates, international collections were down £1.3m on 2011, says PRS.  Nevertheless, international revenue still accounts for the largest source of income for U.K. songwriters, composers and publishers.

Royalties collected from live music also fell in 2012, dropping 14.2% to £19.3 million ($29.2 million) -- a slide that PRS attributes to fewer live music events taking place last year. Improved efficiency within the organization and increased royalty revenues from digital and broadcasters were, however, sizeable enough to offset those falls.    

Last year, a total of £571.9 million ($866.5 million) was paid out to PRS members in 2012, up 2.6% on 2011’s £557.3 million ($844.4 million) payout. PRS reported a £3.6 million ($5.5 million) drop inoverall costs, which totalled £73 million ($110.6 million) in 2012. The organization also made charitable donations equal to £1.5 million ($2.3 million) last year.

Commenting on the figures, PRS chief executive Robert Ashcroft said in a statement:  “Copyright remains fundamental to the continued success of our members both at home and abroad, while the ever-increasing importance of licensed online services such as iTunes and Spotify underlines the value of music to the internet economy.”

PRS for Music represents the rights of 95,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the U.K. and licenses in excess of 350,000 U.K. businesses, including 300 radio stations and 450 television channels.