Royalties collected on behalf of songwriters, composers and creators worldwide by CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers Societies, climbed to a record high of €8.6 billion ($9.1 billion) in 2015, up 8.9 percent on the previous year (4.4 percent in constant exchange rates).
In 2015, collections from digital services jumped 21.4 percent, representing 7.2 percent of overall royalties collected around the world.
It's the third consecutive year of growth for CISAC, with music collections alone generating €7.5 billion ($7.9 billion), up 8.5 percent year-on-year and accounting for almost 90 percent of the total, according to the organization's latest Global Collections Report.
For the first time, the report consolidates figures collected from societies and music publishers on the digital music business in six key markets (U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany and Sweden) alongside financial data (based on gross domestic collections) from the organization's 239 member societies, representing over four million creators of music, audio-visual works, drama, literature and visual arts across 123 countries.
In terms of regions, Europe generated €5 billion ($5.3 billion) of total royalties, up 3.6 percent on 2014 and representing 58.4 percent of CISAC's global total. North America posted the strongest growth, with collections up 33 percent year-on-year (13.2 percent at fixed rates) to total €1.76 billion ($1.86 billion). CISAC attributed the dramatic spike to exchange rate fluctuations and the inclusion of revenues from the Harry Fox Agency (now part of the SESAC group), which were included in the organization's data for the first time.
Elsewhere, Asia-Pacific accounted for 14.2 percent of royalties collected ($1.2 billion, up 5.6 percent year-on-year), while Latin America and Caribbean represented 6.4 percent of collections ($579 million, up 3.7 percent). Africa also saw encouraging growth with collections climbing by almost 15 percent between 2014 and 2015.
Royalties for public performance rights posted a growth rate of 9.1 percent, climbing to €6.8 billion ($7.2 billion) and accounting for 78.8 percent of overall collections.
"Such a positive report matters a lot to creators worldwide," commented CISAC president and electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre. "Like everyone else, we rely on the health of the economy. However, unlike others, we truly depend on our societies to collect our royalties so that we can continue creating."
In what can be read as a thinly veiled criticism of user-generated platforms like YouTube, which pay smaller royalties than other digital services, he went on to stress the need for "effective systems that capture the value of our works and require those who benefit from them to pay us fairly."
CISAC director general Gadi Oron echoed that theme saying despite "encouraging" growth in collections from digital platforms, the total share of digital income collected by CISAC members remains "fairly low."
"The main root of the problem remains legal loopholes and outdated laws which prevents our members from obtaining fair royalties from digital platforms in many countries," commented Oron. "The huge difference between collections from subscription services and ad-supported platforms is not only alarming, but also clear evidence that regulatory solutions are desperately needed."
"Some major online services generate huge profits from the use of creative content, but refuse to share them with the creators of that content. What we are witnessing is a transfer of value from those who create to those who disseminate; an unfair situation which requires urgent attention from governments and legislators," he went on to say.