As you read this Australia and, hopefully, New Zealand, are on the cusp of emerging from the enforced 20-month COVID-19 hibernation. For many in our community – our songwriter, composer and publisher members as well as industry colleagues and licensees - the 2020-21 year has been dire. Full recovery will take some time. As we’ve said publicly and to governments repeatedly, the live music and entertainment industry was one of the first to be impacted by lockdowns and will be the last allowed to re-open at full capacity. We will see the impact of this ‘lag’ beyond the context of this report.
Our 2020-21 Year in Review report reflects the dichotomy of the contemporary music industry – a digital business that continues a trajectory of strong growth, despite COVID, as against live music performance which has been completely obliterated.
The APRA AMCOS Group reported a revenue record of just over half a billion dollars, $506.9m, with key contributing factors being the growth in audio and video on demand streaming services, both locally and through our multi-territorial licensing hub. The positive Group result included a record international revenue result of $60.2m, reflecting the success of Australian and New Zealand songwriters and composers internationally. AMCOS also recorded a milestone revenue result of $147.0m. APRA AMCOS' net distributable revenue increased 8.7% in a year where gross revenue increased 6.8%. APRA AMCOS’ Group expense to revenue ratio for the year was 12.68%.
I note that for many of our songwriter and composer members, especially those reliant on live performance royalties, the overall success of the company will not have translated to a direct personal benefit. It has never been more important to advocate for and support the breadth of our membership, songwriters, composers and publishers alike, and the future health and potential of the Australian and New Zealand music industries.
The Year in Review details the breadth of our advocacy and activity in supporting our songwriter, composer and publisher members and the wider industry – from direct support through our Sustainability Fund, to evolving online programs and performance opportunities. Advocacy largely focused on COVID support, but also addressed live music regulatory reform, and attempts to erode copyright (which persist).
Jenny Morris’ address at the National Press Club in Canberra set the tone for our longer-term advocacy, providing a ‘moonshot’ vision for our industry based on smart cross-government portfolio policy and industry-government co-investment.
We’ve worked with governments to try and secure the best possible support for COVID-impacted music creators, music businesses and workers. We’ve made government submissions, participated in inquiries and hearings and advocated regulatory reform.
We’ve led and partnered with industry colleagues in discussion and action to drive momentum and positive change to representation, equity and safety for all in our industry.
I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and thanks to all our staff working across Australia and New Zealand and our overseas representatives, who have gone above and beyond to help us collectively define a new way of working over the past 12 months. We continue to listen and look for the best ways to serve you, our members.
As both Australia and New Zealand emerge from COVID, and we head towards an Australian Federal Government election, it’s critical that we use the power of our individual and collective voice to champion culture and creative industries, and specifically the cultural and economic value of music.