Following the release of the Raising Their Voices report on sexual harassment, exclusion, bullying and safety in the Australian music industry, the Australian Government announced the establishment of the Centre for Creative Workplaces chaired by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins. The Centre will promote industry standards for fair, safe and respectful workplaces for Australian artists and arts workers. There’s a lot more work for all of us to do – but there is an energy, consensus and commitment for positive and lasting change.
Similarly, the Aotearoa music industry has come together in time for the New Zealand General Election in October. APRA AMCOS, in partnership with key music industry associations, has built a vision to support talent development, sustainable market conditions and export pathways for music. The vision seeks a partnership with the New Zealand Government to ensure the policy and investment settings are right to create the conditions that will enable more of New Zealand’s talent to thrive on the world stage.
Our Year in Review report reflects a very strong year financially for the APRA AMCOS Australia and NZ Group, with headline gross revenue of $690.5m, an increase of 12% on our 2022 result of $616.5m.
Net distributable revenue – that is, the money going out the door to our writer and publisher members, affiliates and rightsholders – increased 11.4% year-on-year to $595.2m.
Our international income from sister societies around the world exceeded $70m for the first time, a 17.6% year-on-year increase, reflecting the global reach and success of our members.
We saw a post-COVID recovery in our OneMusic general licensing business across Australia and New Zealand, with a 23.5% increase in revenue, and a dramatic 400% year-on-year increase in revenue from concerts and festivals – to an all-time high of $32.0m. There was also continued strong growth in the revenue from music and video-on-demand streaming services.
However, there remains considerable concern regarding the decimated venue-based live music market. We have lost more than 1,300 live music venues and stages across Australia and crowds at nightclubs have almost halved than prior to the start of the pandemic. We are lobbying State and Territory Governments to legislate for the establishment of special entertainment precincts to foster and protect new and existing live music venues. We are also calling on the Australian Government to commit to a live music venue tax offset to act as a catalyst in jump-starting live music nationally.
We report on the wonderful work and leadership of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office (NATSIMO) headed by Leah Flanagan and, in New Zealand, the work of Dame Hinewehi Mohi, DNZM, the Manukura, Puoro Māori/Director, Māori Membership. We continue to leverage the warm camaraderie and the great work in both countries in supporting voice, language, culture and the development of career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Māori and Pasifika peoples.
Further detail is included in this report relating to the breadth of activity across the organisation with our members and licensees and our involvement and leadership in various government submissions, inquiries, hearings and regulatory reform.
APRA AMCOS exists to serve the needs of our writer, composer and publisher members. Over the past five years our membership has grown more than 20%. We are a fast-moving business operating in a globally competitive context. We are in the midst of transforming the organisation’s service capabilities, realising future revenue opportunities, and most importantly, getting money to members faster and more efficiently. This all takes investment in the business and is reflected in this year’s slightly elevated expense-to-revenue ratio, which will be similarly impacted in the 2024 financial year, but we have forecast a dramatic improvement in the cost of running the business from the 2025 financial year.
In the meantime, a key focus for the 2023-24 financial year is to benchmark our service levels and look at what and where we can do better – a process of continuous improvement. As always, we welcome your feedback.