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Business News (more headlines) 10-08-2017

APRA AMCOS Announces A Bumper Year For Songwriters Thanks To Streaming And Export

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APRA AMCOS announces yet another year of record royalty collections, driven by exponential streaming growth. Of the $386.6m in revenue, digital royalties contributed $110.3m, an increase of $42.5m on previous year.

Songwriting royalties paid by music streaming services in Australia have delivered 546 per cent growth in APRA AMCOS’ revenue in just the last three years. The rapid adoption by Australian consumers eclipses that even of television in the 1950s or mobile phones in the 1990s, both of which presented a licensing changing-of-the-guard for APRA AMCOS at the time.

Brett Cottle, Chief Executive said, "The rise and rise of consumer subscriptions to music and video streaming services was the key factor underpinning our revenue growth during the year. We estimate that there are now nearly four million subscriptions to one or other of these services across Australia and New Zealand."

Streaming has given Australian songwriters and composers unprecedented access to a global audience. Growth in royalties earned overseas saw 1,576 more APRA members receive a royalty payment in FY 16/17. 18,052 members earned an income from their works being played overseas. APRA members enjoyed a new record of royalties earned from their songs being played/performed overseas - $43.5m, an increase of 13.6 per cent year on year, and a whopping 199.5 per cent growth over five years, proving Australian music export is worthy of investment. Songwriters making an impact on the world stage include Sia, Vance Joy, Flume, Joel Little, Lorde, Samuel Dixon and Cookin’ on 3 Burners.

With the growing trend of consumers accessing movies and TV series via digital services and devices, the Video on Demand revenue stream has seen substantial growth this year. Whether it’s Please Like Me or Wolf Creek, the music composed for TV and film is delivering an important additional royalty source for local composers.

"Over the year collections from the oldest of our core business activity, public performance licensing grew from $70.7m to $77.7m, a remarkable achievement in a patchy economic environment and one that will be significantly built on when we launch our joint licensing operation with Australian record labels late in 2018," Cottle said.

APRA AMCOS reports 145,189 licensees with 5,403 new businesses licensed over the year. Live revenue had a bumper year, up 15.9 per cent, driven largely by major concert tours such as Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber, Coldplay and Adele, where Australian support acts included Rose Tattoo, Wolfmother, Sheppard and Jess Kent.

Importantly, total royalties payable to writer and publisher members and affiliated societies (NDR) grew 17.7 per cent this year.

Cottle, who will step down in June 2018 after 28 years leading the organisation, said, "The bedrock for all of our licensing and royalty distribution activities remains copyright law. Possible changes to the Act which directly threaten copyright owners’ rights and their ability to monetise such rights mean that a great deal of work needs to be undertaken in these areas in the year ahead."

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