PRS reveals music downloads help boost revenue by £623m in 2009

Michael Quinn
,

Strong growth in online revenues and from use of British music abroad helped offset continued decline in traditional CD and DVD formats last year to boost income for PRS for Music, which represents 65,000 songwriters, composers and publishers, by 2.6% to £623 million.

Increases in the number of legal digital music services across the UK and Europe pushed income from online sales up by almost 73% to £30.4 million, while exchange rate gains and new international licensing arrangements saw foreign income rise by almost a fifth to £166.9 million.

Despite accounting for 20% of all royalty revenues, income from recorded media fell by more than 9% to £128.5 million although tighter scrutiny of public performance licenses saw growth of 2.4% which was offset by a slump of 5% in income derived from the pubs and clubs sector which lost an estimated 39 venues each week in 2009. Income from television and radio also fell during the year with the ringtone market collapsing by more than half (56%).

Announcing the figures, PRS for Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft said: “2009 was the first year in which the growth in revenues from the legal digital market compensated for the decline in revenues from traditional CDs and DVDs, though we remain cautious as to whether this represents a true turning point”.

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