Record-breaking royalties paid to songwriters after Adele and Ed Sheeran's global success

The global success of British music stars such as Adele and the rise of streaming services resulted in a record-breaking amount of royalties paid to songwriters in 2016.

The Performing Right Society For Music paid out an all-time high of £527 million to songwriters across the world in the past year, with 33% more of its members receiving payment for their work compared with the year before.

The organisation, which represents more than 2,000,000 writers, composers and music publishers worldwide, saw its revenues increase by more than 10% to £621.5 million, despite a slight drop in the royalties received from television.

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran has played his part (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Countering the drop was the widespread use of streaming services such as Spotify, causing an increase from online revenue of almost 90%, while international revenues rose by 5% to £233.7 million in a continuing upward trend driven by the global appeal of British stars including Adele, Ed Sheeran and Little Mix.

Public performance saw a year-on-year increase of 4.6% to £183.2 million following an increase in the number of concerts and festivals as well as higher ticket prices.

PRS For Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft said the organisation’s work in mining data streams and using technology to identify performances of music also helped contribute to the surge in royalties paid.

Adele and Simon Konecki at Glastonbury in 2015 (Yui Mok/PA)
Adele at Glastonbury in 2015 (Yui Mok/PA)

He said: “We paid out more money, to more members, across more works and against significantly increased data volumes, than ever before.

“This has been made possible through our long term strategy of investing in technology, data, joint ventures and other strategic partnerships.”


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