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New report sheds light on significance of the Artist’s Resale Right (ARR)

Cover of Artist's Resale Right 2023 Report, with the text 'enabling royalties for artists since 2006' and an image of the world's continents in plexiglass hanging from wooden beams

DACS has today released a new report which highlights the pivotal role ARR royalties play in supporting artists and the wider UK art market.

The report examines the latest statistics and information on the importance of ARR in ensuring that UK artists receive fair compensation for their works. Since first introduced in the UK in 2006, DACS has distributed more than £120 million in ARR royalties, directly benefiting over 6,000 artists and their heirs. 

One of the key highlights of the report is the profound impact of ARR royalties on artists, both economically and within the visual arts ecosystem. Despite their significant contributions to the UK's culture and heritage, visual artists often find themselves among the lowest-paid creative sector workers, with median annual earnings as low as £12,500. 

The report's key findings show

  • DACS distributed £10.5 million in ARR royalties in 2021 alone, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
  • Artists rely on a portfolio of earnings, of which royalties are an important part. 75% of surveyed artists reinvest their ARR royalties into their practice, supporting studio costs, material purchases, and professional development.
  • Artists selling at the lower end of the art market benefit from ARR. Over two-thirds of ARR payments in 2021 were less than £500, and 10% of artists received ARR royalties for the first time that year.
  • Trends in the resale art market demonstrate an increased appetite for "ultra-contemporary" artists, allowing young artists born since 1990 to receive ARR royalties.
  • Contrary to concerns, there is no evidence that the introduction of ARR has negatively impacted the UK art market or diverted sales to non-ARR markets.
  • The UK art market is currently ranked second globally, contributing £9.5 billion to the UK economy. ARR royalties represent only 0.1% of the UK art market's value.

Over 90 countries worldwide have implemented some form of ARR legislation, with more countries adopting or enhancing royalty collection and distribution efforts. Since Brexit, the UK government has successfully negotiated trade agreements with the EU, Australia, and New Zealand, with ARR included in the trade deals.

The Artist’s Resale Right is more than a legislative mandate – it is a commitment to fairness, a recognition of the value of artists' contributions, and an indispensable support for artists and their estates. To promote transparency, accountability, and equity in the art market, the global adoption and protection of ARR is imperative and safeguards the future of our artists and cultural heritage.

Christian Zimmermann