Why 'Nashville Is Becoming As Important As Melbourne' To Aussie Music

19 October 2015 | 4:05 pm | Staff Writer

Foreign royalties collected by APRA are on the increase as the society brings in a record total

The chief executive of APRA AMCOSBrett Cottle AM, has said that overseas cities such as Nashville and London are "becoming as important" as Melbourne and Auckland to Australian and New Zealand music after the industry body posted a record $300 million in royalty collections, a growing portion of which is coming from foreign sources.

APRA AMCOS explains in its 2014/15 year-in-review report that foreign performing-right revenue rose 26% to hit $34 million in collections, or a little more than 10% of total revenue brought in over the year.

"APRA members' performing-right export earnings reached an unprecedented level during the year … this is an incredible and singular achievement by our writers and their business-partner publishers," Cottle said in the report.

"The huge international success enjoyed by Sia, Lorde, Gotye, AC/DC, Vance Joy and so on was mirrored by many, many other writers in a variety of musical genres, and is a direct reflection of the rapid internationalisation of our business.

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"Nashville is becoming as important as Melbourne to our members, just as London is becoming as important as Auckland. This phenomenon will dramatically alter the management of our business and the provision of services to members in the years ahead."

Despite the surge in overseas interest, domestic performing-right revenue remains the largest piece of the pie, up 5.6% to $195 million, while reproduction-right revenue also rose 2% to $68 million. The positive all-round results helped the society rake in $300.84 million in total group revenue, excluding management fees.

Minus the expenses of $38.2 million (up 3.2%), APRA AMCOS brought in $262.7 million in net distributable revenue for its members, a rise of 6.9% and a record in itself for the organisation, being the first time APRA's standalone net distributable revenue has surpassed $200 million.

That said, it wasn't all good news — according to the report, APRA experienced "a decline in Australian public performance licensing revenue during the year under review", while at the same time "a decline in digital download revenue is certainly occurring (currently at about 10% pa)", largely due to the take-up of streaming-service alternatives.

"By far the biggest market factor in the current commercial landscape for AMCOS is the shift from digital downloads to music subscription services, with the major concern being cannibalisation of the former by the latter," Cottle said; however, "it appears that there will be room for both kinds of services and that the ownbership model of music consumption will persist for some time yet," he conceded.