Annual Report


Statement of the General Management on 2020

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen
Dear beneficiaries of the GVL,

2020 will go down in our collective memory: Gruelling months full of changes, restrictions, fears, deprivations, and losses. The Covid-19 pandemic has demanded a great deal from all of us. Our rights holders had to cope with dramatic cutbacks and a great deal of people in the creative industries felt left in the lurch with their existential fears.

Dr. Tilo Gerlach und Guido Evers, Geschäftsführer der GVL
Dr. Tilo Gerlach and Guido Evers, Managing Directors of GVL. Photo by: Dirk Deckbar

GVL’s remuneration was a financial constant for many performers and labels: In 2020 – an exceptional year in the face of the corona pandemic - GVL paid out €283.3m to its rights holders.  In addition to eight regular distributions with 31 distribution runs, GVL also initiated advance payments and additional corona support in the double-digit million range for performers and producers. This is a visible success, which is not least the result of an advanced consolidation process of GVL’s modernised IT systems.

GVL too had to adjust to the new circumstances. From one day to the next and to this day, our whole workforce took up working from home. Keeping our staff healthy is unquestionably our highest priority and in doing so, we were able to ensure the timely execution of all scheduled distributions. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their unwavering dedication in these difficult times.

During this exceptional year, it has been a central objective of GVL to mobilise a maximum of remuneration for its rights holders. In addition, we made great strides in the advancement of our IT systems and continued to make significant progress with unabated energy. However, at the same time, GVL was also subjected to criticism: We had to actively deal with the accusation of a lack of transparency and comprehensibility. As a consequence, we sharpened our communication activities. A range of new dialogue formats and information services have created a more direct contact with our rights holders and has given us an opportunity to bring the complex correlations of GVL closer to our producers and performers.

We are pleased that the Association of Independent Musicians and Music Companies, reg. ass. (VUT) has widened our group of shareholders since July 2020. Thus allowing them to advocate the interests of independent producers of sound recordings within the GVL committees.

Together with the creative industry’s leading associations - among them the four GVL shareholders - we have continued to advocate the interests of more than 160,000 rights holders at political level. This was based on, among other things, the newly launched music industry study published in 2020. The timing of the survey makes the results all the more valuable as it captures and presents the music industry’s continuing growth in tangible figures whilst sharply contrasting the exceptional economic and financial situation caused by the corona crisis. Between 2014 and 2019, the total revenues of the sector had increased by 18% to €13.6bn. However, since then the cultural and creative sectors have been hit hard with massive revenue decline. It remains to be seen how swiftly such economic dimensions and dynamics can be reached again.

During this exceptional year, it has been a central objective of GVL to mobilise a maximum of remuneration for its rights holders.

In contrast to many other enterprises in the creative industries, GVL’s income remained stable in 2020: Our annual accounts stand at €216.1m, that is €0.6m more than in the previous year, and thus significantly above the estimates made at the beginning of the year. We managed to reliably navigate GVL through a historic year of crisis. Admittedly, GVL had to cope with major deficits in the public performance sector in the face of closed clubs, restaurants, hotels and many other venues. But at the same time, income from private copying exceeded initial estimates: Sales figures of computers increased massively especially during lockdown. This development as well as other one-off effects were stabilising factors in the GVL balance sheet. In the 2021 IFPI Global Music Report, the international umbrella organisation of the music industry, GVL is therefore ranked second in a worldwide comparison, after its US-American sister organisation.

Corona is far from over yet - the aftermath of the pandemic will be felt by many creatives and their partners even beyond 2021. At the same time, we are convinced that the creativity and unprecedented solidarity shown by the entire sector in 2020 will remain and continue in the time after corona. We as GVL have integrated the innovative strengths of the past years into our culture in a sustainable manner. We will continue to convince with consistent performance and remain an active and reliable partner at the side of our rights holders.

Guido Evers and Dr. Tilo Gerlach
Managing Directors of GVL