US publishing body the NMPA held its annual meeting yesterday – the first time it’s been online. It included some new stats from president and CEO David Israelite. He revealed that US publishing industry revenues grew by 11.6% in 2019 to $3.72bn, making last year the fifth consecutive year of growth for the sector. However, the figures also hinted at why 2020 is set to be such a tough year for songwriters and publishers with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Performance royalties – one of the categories most hit by the shutdown not just of live music, but of shopping centres, bars, clubs, gyms and other businesses that play music – accounted for 52.3% of those publishing revenues in 2019.
Sync accounted for 22.7% of the total, and mechanical royalties 18.5%. There has been speculation about how Covid-19 will hit global (not just US) publishing revenues this year.
Goldman Sachs recently predicted that growth would slow down considerably this year, but that it would still be growth: around 3.5%. Kobalt chairman Willard Ahdritz disagreed in his Midem keynote last week though: “Overall I do believe that publishing will short-term be actually negative this year,” he said. “Having said that, I think we are going to bounce back and have a 20% growth next year in publishing, overall.”