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British collecting society PRS for Music has offered another warning that the Covid-19 pandemic will be delivering its biggest hit to songwriter royalties later this year.

PRS has just paid out its July 2020 distribution, £132.4m, which was up by 3% year-on-year. However, CEO Andrea Martin warned the society’s members that there are tough times ahead.

“As this distribution covers revenue collected mostly prior to Covid-19, we are only just starting to see the impact of the pandemic on royalty payments in July’s distribution. This will mean a further reduction in the royalties usually seen from Live, Public Performance, Commercial Radio, and International from October 2020 onwards,” she said in a statement.

That July distribution included PRS’s largest ever distribution for YouTube user-generated content (UGC) music usage, while the society hailed a “notable increase” in revenue from video-on-demand services including Apple TV+, Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video.

Public performance revenues were down 2% due to the early impact of Covid-19, but as Martin made clear, the worst – in terms of a full quarter’s worth of lockdown and cancelled concerts and festivals – is yet to come.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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