Good news: after pandemic crisis, global revenue for creators rises 5.8% in 2021

CISAC has published its 2022 global collections report. This is one of the most important reports in the industry, as it contains revenue data from the confederation’s 228 member societies. This report brings good news: the coronavirus crisis seems to be behind us and the outlook for creators looks brighter. 

The positive news is that CISAC members’ collections have returned to growth after two years of crisis. The total amount of royalties collected has increased by 5.8% in 2021 and, although still below pre-pandemic levels, all indications are that we are back on a growth path. The figures reveal that we are back to normal and that the live events and public performance sector has started to flow again. 

However, these are not the only sectors that have grown. Following the trend of previous years, revenues from digital operations have increased by 27.9% to €3.12 billion. This implies – no more and no less – a progression of 49.1% compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic revenues. This growth is due to numerous reasons, among which we can name a strong structural growth of streaming, increasing subscriptions to music services, new licenses or renewals of existing ones with the most popular platforms such as Tik Tok and YouTube and the growing demand for subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services. 

The rise of streaming has led to a significant increase in the number of markets where digital is the main source of revenue. The pandemic and its consequent change in consumption habits has led to the share of digital revenues completely changing the market, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, where the increase in revenues has reached spectacular figures, such as 343% in Thailand or 304% in India. 

In Europe, royalties collected for creators recovered by 7.5% in 2021, although still 7.5% below the pre-pandemic level. This has allowed the region to remain the largest contributor, holding 55% of global collections. Growth was limited by continued restrictions affecting live concerts and public performance; however, digital revenues helped to offset this decline. Digital revenues generated virtually all of the growth in the region, increasing by 33.5% in 2021, twice as much as the 14% increase in 2020.

In conclusion, after two years of unprecedented crisis in the music industry, it seems that – finally – the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to show. The two most important aspects of this recovery are, on the one hand, the return to normality with the return of live concerts and public performance and, on the other hand, the high revenues from the digital sector. Regarding the first one, we will undoubtedly see further growth in 2022 thanks to the full return to normality. However, for the digital sector, there are still quotas to be met, such as assigning greater value to creators for the use of their works. Undoubtedly, striking a balance between the value obtained by the user and the value received by the creator for the exploitation of his or her works in digital must be the industry’s next goal.

Nicolás Matías Mansilla, Legal and Licensing Coordinator at Unison.

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