ALCS in 2019: A Review of the Year

This year, we’ve made it our mission to reach as many members as possible. We’ve travelled the width and breadth of the country for focus groups, drinks receptions and our AGM. What's more, we’ve also had a record Distribution year, paying out more money, to more members than ever before!

Meeting our members

We had the pleasure of meeting members from all over the country in 2019, holding focus groups in Brighton, Bath and Edinburgh, hosting a drinks reception for members in Edinburgh and holding our AGM in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

We loved meeting so many of you and appreciate members taking the time to come and talk to us.


Another record year

In 2019, we paid out £36.8 million to over 86,000 members – another record year for ALCS. Of these members, over 27,000 were based overseas and just under 7,000 members received a payment from ALCS for the first time.


Money, money, money

This year ALCS signed new or extended agreements with societies in Mexico, Albania and Switzerland. We paid out £500,000 through an agency agreement with Writers Digital Payments Limited for the streaming of programmes on BBC iPlayer.

Additionally, as a result of our investments performing well last year, the Board agreed in September to distribute approximately £500,000 to all eligible members in our March 2020 distribution.


10 years’ worth of low commission rates

We are proud to announce that this year marked 10 years’ worth of single figure commission rates for ALCS members, with our net commission for last year sitting at 8.7%. This figure means ALCS maintains one of the lowest commission rates of any collecting society in the UK and that ALCS members can continue to receive the largest possible proportion of money collected.



This year, ALCS continued to lobby for the rights of authors in both the UK and overseas. June 2019 saw the launch of the All Party Writers’ Group inquiry into authors’ earnings which was conducted as a result of the 2018 ALCS-commissioned survey into authors’ earnings.

After spending the past three years lobbying for the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market with several other writers’ organisations, the Directive was passed into EU legislation earlier in the year and will work to protect both creators and the creative industries.


New ALCS Board members

At the 2019 AGM in Newcastle upon Tyne, we were pleased to announce that Joan Smith has been re-elected to the ALCS Board. James McConachie has also been re-elected and returns to the Board for another term after a year’s break.

We also said goodbye to outgoing Board member Jonathan Fryer. ALCS is very grateful for his dedicated work over the years and wishes him luck with his future plans.


Our ALCS Podcast

This year saw the launch of Authors’ Matters, the podcast by ALCS, established as a forum where we can chat with writers from across the profession about how they earn their living, and cover issues of interest to writers. Our first podcast was released in September and you can listen to past episodes and subscribe here to make sure don’t miss any future editions.



Throughout 2019, we were delighted to sponsor several literary awards including the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Award, the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction as part of the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards, and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA). We were also thrilled to support a number of audiovisual events including the International Radio Drama Festival, the Film the House competition and the Writers’ Guild Awards.

We’ve also worked closely with our fellow writers’ organisations throughout the year, supporting research from the Royal Society of Literature and running several awards in association with the Society of Authors.


Thank you to everyone who has helped make 2019 a successful year for ALCS.