Not a member yet? Join APRA AMCOS

Already started a Writer Member application? Continue

APRA AMCOS distributes more than half a billion dollars in royalties for the first time

Media Published Thursday 20 October 2022

Sets record revenue result $616.5 million, a 21.6% increase in 2021-22 financial year

Digital represents more than half of total revenue

Organisation calls for the creation of a national music development agency

APRA AMCOS’ 2021-22 financial year set a record for the Australasian music rights management organisation with gross revenue of $616.5 million, an increase of 21.6% on last year’s $506.9 million result. Net distributable revenue also increased by more than 20% to $534.3 million, exceeding the half-billion mark for the first time and beating last year’s $442.6 million of royalties earned on behalf of songwriters, publishers, affiliated societies and other rights holders.

Achieving a record result in the third financial year affected by the pandemic is due in large part to the notable 40.2% uplift in digital business locally and through APRA AMCOS’ Multi-Territory Licensing Hub. FY22 marks the first time digital sources represent more than half of total revenue, accounting for $338 million.

International income (from the performance of Australian and New Zealand songs and compositions internationally) has shown strong growth over recent years, albeit flat in this reporting year given COVID-19 and the lack of live and promotional opportunities in overseas markets.

However, the number of members who earned international royalties increased to 23,532, an uplift of 18.4%, and a reflection of digital sources accounting for more than half of international revenue for the first time.

Income from television and radio has remained strong and APRA AMCOS’ oldest business, public performance, felt the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and disruptions.

“We are acutely aware that for many of our members, our financial year results bely the day-to-day reality of trying to earn a living as a music creator,” said APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston.

“As I flagged in this report last year, COVID-19 highlighted the dichotomy in the contemporary music industry globally – an increasingly digital business that continues a trajectory of strong growth, but for many music creators doesn’t generate meaningful return, as against live music performance which can provide a meaningful and reliable return but has been decimated by COVID-19.”

In early 2022, the APRA Board addressed the loss of members’ income for gigs that were to take place 1 October 2021-28 February 2022 in Australia and New Zealand and approved $1.5 million to fund the Cancelled Performance Reports initiative. Over 3,000 songwriters and composers across Australia and New Zealand received a live performance royalty payment for their cancelled shows.

While concerts and festivals revenue fell short of the FY22 forecast, May and June revenue was higher than expected, indicating a return to a busy – albeit not-without-risk – live schedule.

“The realities of developing and maintaining a sustainable career in the contemporary music industry has underscored our work to facilitate discussion across the industry, and in developing whole of sector policy positions and government advocacy strategies,” said Ormston.

“In Australia and New Zealand, we have two music-loving nations that both have the potential to become global music powerhouses and ultimately net exporters of music.

“But to achieve this, it is essential to drive strategies to create live performance opportunities, a greater presence of local content across all media and effective cross-government portfolio policy development.

“In Australia, we are now advocating this vision and a clear set of policy priorities to the new Australian Federal Government, and have submitted to the Australian National Cultural Policy Review,” said Ormston.

In the submission, APRA AMCOS calls for the creation of a national music development agency, and six priority areas for government:

  1. First Nations music priorities
  2. Immediate investment and support
  3. Supercharge policy and investment: ‘Music Australia’
  4. Strong intellectual property framework
  5. Visibility and prominence of Australian music content
  6. National catalyst for live music with a tax offset

Ormston outlines that helping to lead the way for ensuring a safe, respectful and inclusive industry is an urgent priority, following the publication of The Music Industry Review’s Raising Their Voices.

In 2021, under its Equity Action Plan, the organisation commissioned a full review of APRA AMCOS policies in relation to sexual discrimination, harm, bullying, victimisation and exclusion.

As part of that plan, a Statement of Expectation was signed by the APRA and AMCOS Boards and APRA AMCOS Ambassadors to make a clear policy of expectations and accountability.

“It’s going to take a collective industry approach to achieve lasting change – I think there’s energy and enthusiasm for change. And certainly, APRA AMCOS will stand shoulder to shoulder with industry colleagues to help drive that change,” said Ormston.