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MU Marks Record Breaking Year of Royalties Payments in 2022

After distributing £1.37m to musicians in 2022, the MU’s Recording & Broadcasting department reflect on why this was a particularly high year, and advise members who are yet to receive their payments.

Published: 29 March 2023 | 12:38 PM Updated: 29 March 2023 | 2:12 PM
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“We hope to equal and increase this for 2023 and have already streamlined some of our processes including further development of software.” Photo credit: Shutterstock

By the end of 2022 the Musicians’ Union had distributed £1.37m to musicians, both members and non-members. This is the highest payment of royalties made in one single year by the MU, ever.

This finding is particularly good news after the lack of work suffered by musicians due to Covid from 2020 onwards.

Jessica Craig, MU Royalties Official commented on why we may have seen a surge in distributions:

“Most of the increases in revenue come from use of commercial recordings used in advertising and film sync, which helps to balance some of the reduction in studio recording over the past couple of years”.

Increased royalty distributions in facts and figures

Specific figures on the royalties distributed by the MU include:

  • 12,495 individuals received royalties, with an average payment of £110.
  • £500k increase in raised invoices in 2022 compared with 2021.
  • Total invoices raised in 2022: £1.6m

We still have more royalties that we need to distribute

Geoff Ellerby, MU National Organiser for Recording & Broadcasting commented on the 2022 figures and his hopes for the future, as well as offering advice to members who may not have received their payments:

“The team pulled off a tremendous piece of work last year, it was a wholly collaborative effort. We hope to equal and increase this for 2023 and have already streamlined some of our processes including further development of software.

“However, there is a downside in that a substantial number of musicians have not passed on their full details for payment, so we still have more royalties that we need to distribute to musicians.

“If any member has performed on a commercial track as a non-featured performer (ie session player not contracted artist) and they are aware the track has been used in sync AND have not had any payment from the Musicians’ Union, then they can email us at unpaid_musicians@theMU.org. We can then do the appropriate checks to release payment.”

Expert royalties advice and guidance from the MU

The MU’s Royalties Department collects and distributes royalties for secondary and further use of recordings. Other possible sources of income include PPL Performer Revenue, PPL Rightsholder Royalties and PRS Royalties.

Members may wish to consult our detailed general guidance on how to earn and collect revenue from sound recordings, as well as specific guidance on making sure that the MU are collecting royalties for you.

If you are concerned about being owed streaming royalties or master recording royalties, you should firstly contact the MU. From there we can advise you if you'll need to seek the help of PPL or PRS to collect your money.

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