Australia’s brutal bushfire season and the global health crisis had a measurable effect on APRA AMCOS’s financials, with public performance income the hardest hit.
On Wednesday (Oct. 15), the PRO reported a downgraded financial year for 2019-20 and a rare contraction in distributable revenue, due to bushfires and COVID-19.
For its financial period, the organization posted group revenue of A$474.5 million ($337 million), up by 0.6% but well below the budgeted figure of A$488.9 million ($348 million).
With restrictions in place on live music and events across the country, royalties are “expected to take a more substantial hit in 2020-21,” APRA AMCOS warns.
In a painful sign of the times, royalties payable to songwriters, publishers, affiliated societies and rights holders during the year-long period were down 0.9%, to A$407.3 million ($289 million).
Predictably, the hardest hit revenue category was public performance income, which generated A$73 million ($51 million) of income, almost A$20 million ($14 million) less than the corresponding figure from last year.
The results are published in the APRA AMCOS’s Year In Review. “Individual and collective resilience has been tested and we’ve had to adapt quickly,” comments APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston, on publication of the annual report.
“As the bushfires devastated enormous areas of Australia, and then COVID-19 spread across the globe, we moved quickly to provide direct support and advocate to government the plight of those that live and work in the original gig economy.”
There were bright points during the 12-months, as revenue from digital channels lifted to a new high of A$206 million ($146 million), up 17.4% from the prior year.
And multi-territory digital licensing saw “phenomenal growth” across Asia, according to the study, with more than one trillion music uses processed on behalf of rights holders.
Also, international revenue spiked to A$54.4 million ($38 million), a record result, as a raft of homegrown artists enjoyed border-crossing success, including Tones And I, Tame Impala, Sia, 5 Seconds of Summer and New Zealand producers Jawsh 685 and Joel Little.
The full extent of the pandemic’s impact on international earnings, however, won’t be felt until FY2021.
APRA AMCOS was closely involved in talks with the federal government, which culminated with the announcement of a A$250 million ($177 million) package for arts and entertainment, including live music, confirmed in June.
“Music will be a critical part of the social, cultural and economic recovery of both Australia and New Zealand,” comments Ormston. “As we move to recovery, it is now time for government to fully realize the economic, cultural and social return of the music sector.
For the first time, the report reveals the Top 50 Australian and Top 50 New Zealand songs streamed in each country over the year, with Tones And I and Flume topping the Australian streaming charts and Drax Project, Six60 and BENEE topping the NZ streaming charts (songs written or co-written by an APRA member qualify for the lists).
APRA AMCOS boasts more than 108,000 songwriter, music publisher and composer members. On July 1, 2019 AMCOS and PPCA launched OneMusic Australia, a single public performance licensing system. The one-stop license enjoyed “an exceptional uptake,” APRA AMCOS reports, though the year’s disruptions were “felt broadly across most industries licensed by OneMusic,” in particular live, concerts, hospitality, fitness, airlines and cinema.
Read the report in full here.