October 22, 2021

APRA AMCOS posts record-high revenue despite sector’s challenges

APRA AMCOS posts record-high revenue despite sector’s challenges

Despite mass business closures from COVID restrictions, Australasian music rights management organisation APRA AMCOS’ group revenue proved itself pandemic-proof in the main in its 2021 financial year.

The report showed group revenue was up 6.8% to $506.9 million.

$442.6 million royalties were payable to songwriters, publishers, affiliated societies and rights holders (net distributable revenue), up 8.7%.

Of that, 47,597 APRA members earned royalties in Australia; and 19,880 from overseas.

To be expected, live performance and background music royalties took a devastating dive as tens of thousands of businesses closed, or operated with strict attendance limits during the reporting period.

But these were easily offset by strides in digital and international collections, which the organisation said accounted for more than half its group revenue.

Audiences’ appetite for audio and streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) were a boon, pushing up digital revenue by 47.6% to $241.1 million.

Income from international sources totalled $60.2 million, surpassing last year’s record-setting figure of $54.4 million, an increase of 10.7%.

This was due to international success stories such as Tones And I’s ‘Dance Monkey’ and ‘Never Seen the Rain’, and favourites like ‘Riptide’, ‘Royals’, ‘Thunderstruck’, and ‘Cheap Thrills’.

The scores for Border Security (Neil Sutherland), A Place to Call Home (Michael Yezerski) and The Brokenwood Mysteries (Joel Haines) also found their mark.

Royalties from television were $72.7 million, relatively steady from last year’s $72.8 million; radio was $38.8 million from $40.2 million; education was  steady at $15.4 million; and recordings made up $14.2 million from $10.7 million.

Closer to home, the top 50 Australian songs streamed in Australia were topped by Joel Corry’s ‘Head & Heart’, with UK-based Aussie John Courtidis a co-writer.

Other notables included The Kid LAROI’s ‘Without You’ and ‘So Done’, the latter co-written with Sydney songwriter/producer Khaled Rohaim; Tones And I’s ‘Dance Monkey’; and Masked Wolf’s ‘Astronaut in the Ocean’, co-written by Michael Harry and Tyron Hapi.

Despite now collecting for PPCA under OneMusic Australia, licence fees across Australia and New Zealand for public performance were two-thirds of pre-pandemic figures.

Concerts and events generated $5.1 million in 2020-21, down from $19.6 million the previous year, and just 20.5% of the $24.9 million total in 2018-19.

OneMusic Australia continued to provide much-needed licence fee relief where businesses including fitness, hospitality, airlines and cinemas had to close in line with public health orders.

Chief executive Dean Ormston told the association’s 111,000 members that advocating on their behalf remains a priority.

“For so many of our songwriter and composer members, especially those reliant on live performance royalties, the overall financial results of the company will not have translated to a direct personal benefit,” he said.

“It has never been more important to advocate for and support the breadth of our membership – songwriters, composers and publishers – and the future health and potential of the Australian and New Zealand music industries.

“We have done this from directly supporting our members through our Sustainability Fund, to evolving online programs and performance opportunities.

“Our advocacy largely focused on COVID support, but also tackled live music regulatory reform, and continuing attempts to erode copyright, which sadly persist.”