According to CISAC report India’s copyright body ‘The Indian Performing Right Society Ltd’ ranks as the 6th largest Society by revenues in the Asia-Pacific!

The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS), a representative body of music composers, lyricists, and publishers, creates a new benchmark, by distributing royalty amounting to Rs. 325Crs in the past two years. The last two years have been challenging across various sectors. The music and entertainment industry were no exception. During this challenging time, IPRS aided its members with royalties when other sources of income got restricted.

Capturing the worldwide study, CISAC has just released its Global Collections Report for 2021 (based on 2020 collections data). As per the report published, The Indian Performing Right Society Ltd. (IPRS) ranked as the 6th largest Society by revenues in the Asia-Pacific region, out of 11 Societies featuring in the Top 50. The Paris-based International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) is the apex body of 232 Authors’ Societies in 121 countries representing more than 4Mn creators.


As per CISAC Global collection report 2021, IPRS emerges strongly in revenue collection in these testing times. Worldwide royalty collections for creators of music, audio-visual, art, drama, and literary works fell by 9.9% in 2020, with losses amounting to more than €1 billion because of the global pandemic.

Further, Business Upturn interacted with Mr. Rakesh Nigam, CEO of IPRS and Mr. Björn Ulvaeus – President of CISAC. Please find the excerpts from the interview.

Responses attributed to Mr.Nigam

How Covid impacted the Indian Music Industry?

The pandemic and its aftermath left a trail of challenges across sectors. The music and entertainment wasn’t spared either. Music was one of the segments majorly impacted. In a country like India, where music is an integral part of daily life and festivities, the pandemic resulted in a sudden standstill drawing curtains on live shows, concerts, filming, and on-ground events. That badly hit earnings and employment for many in the music industry. The pandemic which hit the unorganized sector hard, saw its ramifications on the music sector in India. However it led to rapid transformation in the way music is created, distributed, and consumed. While live shows took a back seat, digital came to the forefront, creating multiple platforms where people can share and access music. This also paved the way for creators to explore and leverage new opportunities. Technology and innovation helped the creators connect with their fans and keep the music alive.

The online music distribution and the ever-increasing music publishers have created room for further innovation and differentiation. There is a growing awareness amongst music creators regarding the importance of enrolling with a copyright society. It not only plays a significant role in safeguarding the Creator’s rights but also helps in representation as a community and be protected financially whenever there is any crisis. Addressing this concern, the Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) has proved to be a credible, transparent, and scalable collective organization for the Authors, Composers, and Publishers to give them the due credit they deserve. There is an increasing need for organizations such as IPRS to address the devaluation and deprivation of intellectual properties upholding music and its creators.

How IPRS supported its members during the pandemic

While the pandemic affected every industry, consequently affecting people’s livelihood; there was some respite for IPRS members who got their royalties in time to sail through the pandemic and have a certain income during the uncertainties. As per CISAC Global collection report 2021, IPRS emerged strongly in revenue collection in these testing times. Worldwide royalty collections for creators of music, audio-visual, art, drama, and literary works fell by 9.9% in 2020, with losses amounting to more than €1 billion as a result of the global pandemic. There have been multiple challenges involving fair pay and fair play of music, rampant online piracy, monitoring of music consumption across platforms, and setback in revenues from public performance, live events, and traditional mediums. However, IPRS explored new revenue opportunities and kept the earning alive, distributing royalties over Rs.325 crores to its members and sister societies. It also provided its members with emergency relief fund during the pandemic and medical aid to ailing members amounting to nearly Rs.6Crs.

Response from CISAC Global Report

Why was there a fall in the global music collection?

Revenues from the use of musical works declined by almost EUR1bn in 2020 to reach EUR8.12bn. This amount reverted global income to pre-2017 levels. There were several reasons for it. Harder lockdowns brought in greater losses. Income slumped as lockdown measures closed businesses and shut down public gatherings. The largest contributor to these declines was the fall in live and background activity forced by the pandemic. Income from live and public performance nearly halved during the year. This alone equated to more than EUR1.2bn in lost revenue. It is estimated that around 60% was accounted for by live events as concerts and tours were cancelled. The remaining 40% came from the decrease in background music use by commercial premises that were temporarily closed to ensure social distancing

Based on data from around one-third of CISAC’s member societies, live income fell by an estimated 55% while public performance income declined 35%. The losses reflected the scale of the lockdown restrictions, with Canada (-70.3%), the UK (-61.8%) and Italy (-60.8%) seeing the largest falls in Live and Public Performance collections. At a global level Live and Public Performance Collections fell by 45.4%.

Which was the hardest hit region in the global music collection?

With music collections of EUR3.96bn, Europe declined by 16.9% in 2020 but still generated 48.8% of the global total. Europe and Latin America have suffered more from the pandemic due to greater dependence on live and public performance.

Why do you feel the share from digital collections will decrease in 2022?

COVID – 19 has impacted many creators negatively even in 2021. There has been a slight decrease in increased digital collections. However, within the overall trend, a disproportionately large majority of creators rely on the local uses of their works, on stage and broadcast on air. These creators have felt little or no compensation from increased digital revenues during the pandemic. The reopening of cultural spaces will offer a breath of fresh air to the public and creators alike.

What medium helped in strengthening of the global music collection?

Digital collections grew, with streaming consumption and stepped-up digital licensing and helped in strengthening of the global music collection. Digital music revenues increased by 16.2% in 2020 to reach EUR2.4bn. Digital overtook live and background for the first time to become the second largest income stream. Digital emerged as the dominant revenue stream in many markets, especially in Asia.

Broadcast, radio and cable proved to be resilient during the pandemic. The TV and radio sector remained the largest source of music collections at EUR3.2bn, dropping by only -4.4%. This was helped by resilience in the economy, limited declines in TV advertising and strong subscription rates in cable TV. Broadcast’s share of total collections represented grew to 39.7%, compared to 37.1% the previous year.

Comment from Mr. Björn Ulvaeus – President

What kind of issues/challenges were posed worldwide on royalty collection during the global pandemic?

As the pandemic has highlighted, digital – and most of that is streaming – is now without doubt on course to being the most important revenue stream of the future.

That is in itself very exciting. Subscription streaming has helped us claim back the online world from piracy, and it’s created wonderful opportunities for artists. But the problem is that digital, though it might be working for some, is not delivering enough for the music creator.

This is really about the historical treatment of the songwriter as the subordinate partner in the creative chain. It has always seemed to me inequitable and unfair that the very person at the start of the process, the songwriter or composer, has been consigned to such a secondary role when it comes to rights and remuneration.

These creators are where our creative industries start. When music lovers search on Spotify, they are searching for songs, not artists. That is what the latest data shows.

These issues were always there, but they have become even more critical as songwriters increasingly turn to digital to pay for their livelihoods. In this way Covid-19 threw a massive spotlight on existing inequalities and flaws in the existing digital market.

So, we must address that, and I feel we are starting to change attitudes. Suddenly there is an unprecedented focus on creators’ rights. There is greater awareness now of the “song economy” – that is one of the “silver linings” to Covid.

Policy makers are also taking a keener interest. In the UK, the parliamentary enquiry into streaming has given great scrutiny to the lack of fairness in the digital market. I think this whole process in the UK has thrown a very welcome spotlight on the issue I think is it time for parliaments in other countries to take a similar look at music streaming and make sure songwriters and composers get fairly rewarded.

The importance of authors rights

You could say my own song-writing career has been case study in the importance of copyright. Everything we achieved with ABBA was founded on copyright and authors rights. This is what I would want for other creators, and why I would like to help CISAC and its members in their work to support creators across the globe.

The importance of authors societies

CISAC and the authors societies have an extremely important job, and the pandemic highlighted that. They work to support music creators and to make sure the global network of societies functions efficiently and ensures fair payment of songwriters