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April Clare Welsh
25 April 2022, 12:38

Live music revenue fell by almost 30% in 2021, new report shows

Despite the partial return of concerts in 2021

Boomtown festival

Live music revenue fell by almost 30% in 2021, according to a new report published by the UK’s Performance Rights Organisation PRS for Music.

Some concerts returned to the UK in the summer of 2021, but concert revenues totalled just £8m. This is in comparison to £11.3m in 2020 and £54m in 2019.

Only 19,300 setlists were reported last year, compared to the 124,000 reported pre-pandemic. Live performance setlists can be logged with PRS for Music for all sizes of venue, from gigs to concerts. The organisation currently represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters.

"It's a huge decrease," said PRS for Music CEO Andrea Martin, "but we will see a bounce back this year."

She expressed "renewed optimism" in the sector, highlighting the fact that more than 240 major tours are planned for the UK this year.

The report also noted that PRS "delivered significant growth", observing a 22.4% increase in overall revenues to £777.1m. This means that more royalties have been collected from music played online, representing a more than 50% growth since 2019.

The report also emphasised the impact of music and video-on-demand streaming on revenues, explaining that revenues from video-on-demand platforms have almost doubled during the last two years. Music streaming comprised the majority of online revenue in 2021, contributing £225.5m to the overall online income, up 42.5% (£67.2m) since 2020, and 45.5% (£70.5m) since 2019. 

PRS introduced a new license cost for ticketed online events in 2021 in order to help artists collect revenue during the pandemic. 

In February, the PRS Foundation opened applications for the second year of its Power Up scheme, which was launched in 2021 to support Black creatives and professionals in launching and developing their careers within the music industry.

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