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APRA AMCOS Powers to Record Revenue, Despite Impact of COVID-19

BRISBANE, Australia — Despite the pandemic, and the vast damage done to the live performance industry, Australasian rights society APRA AMCOS saw revenue blow past A$500 million ($374 million) for the first time in 2020-21.

Group revenue grew to $506.9 million ($379 million), up 6.8% year-on-year, “a milestone result for us,” says CEO Dean Ormston.

At the same time, distributable revenue to members in Australia and New Zealand grew to $422.6 million ($316 million), up 8.7%.

The results are published in the APRA AMCOS’s Year In Review.

On closer look, the APRA AMCOS financial year is a reflection of the two-speed music economy, one where digital is thriving, and those portfolios engaged with live entertainment — including public performance income and background music royalties — are in the doldrums.

Those banner results, say the organization, belies “the financial hardship affecting local music creators” whose livelihoods have been crushed by the pandemic.

With millions of music fans stuck at home, the brightest spot was streaming.

Thanks to audio streaming services and on-demand services, digital revenue was essentially “pandemic proof,” according to a statement accompanying the PRO’s full-year financial results. Digital income grew during the period by 48%, to A$180 million ($134 million).

Meanwhile, income from international channels topped $60 million ($45 million), up 10.7% from the record-busting figure of $54.4 million ($40 million) reported last time, a “great result considering the impact of the pandemic, and initial projections of substantial revenue decline around the world,” according to the organization.

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The news wasn’t all good. Royalties from the public performance space retracted by 12.4% to $62.9 million ($47 million), and license fee income for public performance across Australia and New Zealand was just two-thirds of pre-pandemic figures.

Over the reporting period, concerts and events generated just A$5.1 million ($3.8 million), down from A$19.6 million ($14 million) the previous year, and A$24.9 million ($18 million) in 2018-19, “devastating the ability of APRA AMCOS’ touring and gigging members to earn a living,” the report continues.

The health crisis has been crippling to live music and “devastating in the front-line part of the business,” explains Ormston, and its general licensing business, that is, the licensing of background music in restaurants, pubs and clubs, “has been heavily impacted.”

But as a group, “we’ve been able to weather that storm.”

On the cost side of business, notes Ormston, “we’ve dug deep, reduced costs, tightened up efficiencies and made tough decisions, like other businesses.”

APRA AMCOS boasts more than 110,000 songwriter, music publisher and composer members.