Online royalties jumped 60% for independent publishers in 2016


Online royalties paid out by the likes of Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube jumped by 60% for a powerful set of independent publishers last year.

The figure refers to distributions made by IMPEL, which collectively licenses Anglo-American mechanical digital rights in Europe for publishers including Beggars Music, Imagem, SONGS Music Publishing and more.

The growth was completely driven by streaming (thanks to hits from songwriters like SONGS-signed The Weeknd, pictured), which comfortably offset declines from download platforms.

IMPEL’s 46 members also include publishers such as Bucks Music Group, Mute Song, peermusic, Reservoir Media, Sentric Music, Spirit B-Unique and The Music Sales Group, with repertoire covering Elvis, the Stones, Bowie, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and many more.

MBW understands that UK-based IMPEL’s total annual distribution in 2016 easily topped £15m ($19m) – more than double the money it handed out just 3 years previously.

“IMPEL is growing in all directions and 2017 is going to be a ground-breaking year for us.”

Jane Dyball, IMPEL

IMPEL’s figures are all the more impressive when compared side-by-side with the wider music market.

In the recorded music world, for example, digital music retail revenues grew 15.8% across streaming and download in the UK market in 2016 (up to £633.1m), according to ERA data.

And in Germany, digital retail revenues were up by approximately 26.2% last year (to €600.4m) according to recently released BVMI data.

Jane Dyball, CEO of IMPEL said: “IMPEL is a major player now in the digital space. By uniting their repertoire and pro-actively engaging with the digital community the independent publishers are operating on a par with the majors. With repertoire spanning decades, genres and which has been recorded by iconic artists from Elvis to Bowie to Drake, the IMPEL repertoire has become an essential repertoire for digital services.

“IMPEL is growing in all directions and 2017 is going to be a ground-breaking year for us.”

“The speed and transparency [of IMPEL] has been of great benefit to our western hemisphere writers and the catalogues we are fortunate to represent within Europe.”

Ralph PeeR II, Peermusic

CISAC’s report for 2015 shows online mechanical (‘reproduction’) royalty collections in Europe for all publishers stood at 11.5% of €839.3m – which amounts to €96.5m (£70.4m).

Simon Platz, MD, Bucks Music Group and IMPEL Board Chair, said: “Through our exponential growth in revenue we are attracting more members to, what is now, a major player in the digital licensing world.”

Rell Lafargue, COO, Reservoir/ Reverb Music, said: “Reservoir/Reverb Music’s Pan-European royalties have seen triple digit growth, year on year, since joining IMPEL. IMPEL helps to level the playing-field for independent music publishers and our songwriters, as we continue to top European charts time and time again. The indie sector is robust, as these impressive statistics illustrate.”

And Ralph Peer II, CEO, peermusic, commented: “Since becoming the first independent publisher to undertake pan European digital licensing in 2008 and subsequently joining IMPEL we have enjoyed exceptional growth in the royalties generated from this structure.

“Having the benefit a single point of quality data collection for all European PEL royalties ingested and processed by our purpose built proprietary software makes the end-to-end procedure efficient and transparent.

“The resulting speed and transparency has been of great benefit to our western hemisphere writers and the catalogues we are fortunate to represent within Europe and has led us to institute additional pan-regional licensing schemes in other global regions where peermusic operates on the front line.”Music Business Worldwide

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  • Nat Newham

    Any idea how Brexit will affect pan-European licensing for UK publishers, seeing as it’s likely that we’ll leave the single market?

    • Zacheir

      Nah, don’t think it can be a big deal on the entertainment market…especially the music world.

      • Nat Newham

        How can you be so sure? Not just from a licensing perspective, but from an operational one, too … Surely it will have some impact on cost-effectiveness and the resultant value to members?

        • Zacheir

          Members of the UK music sphere, that is? American and European music might take a toll making way into the UK Billboard, but the US market can’t have beefs or restraints against the British counterpart. Just in my opinion. Hit me back with yours!

          • Nat Newham

            As with all things ‘Brexit,’ there are many unknowns! Personally, I think they’ll be less impact on the charts (it costs little to nothing to promo/spread the word online, after all), and more on the income of songwriters & publishers. IMPEL was formed to streamline the online licensing/royalty collection process across Europe, and now further afield – It is operated (to varying degrees) through the collaboration of several collection societies, and relies on existing EU legislation as well as the strength of local currency. Brexit could lead to more red tape that will push up operational costs, and hence, reduce royalties paid out to IMPEL members – Putting them (once again) on the back foot when it comes to license negotiations/bargaining power.

          • Zacheir

            I’m a Songwriter…with ASCAP (Indie) and my royalties from Apple has not had any such delays. IMPEL will need to compromise a bit and not be another Spotify playing the consumer experience/benefit card. Yes, they deserve fair payment but people put their time and lives entirely into creating music and deserve the good earn if they have to raise the streaming charges and kill free downloads for once!