Falling music sales in France hit composers and songwriters where it hurts last year as royalties declined for the first time since 1992 to e755.9 million ($1.018 billion), down a fractional 0.2%.
On a brighter note, live concerts generated revenues of $77.8 million, up 29.1%.
The SACEM (Societe des Auteurs Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique), which manages music royalties, blamed the downturn on the crisis affecting physical music sales. CD and DVD revenues fell 10.2% to $178.1 million, repping just 17.5% of the org’s revenues. A tax on blank cassettes and CDs brought in $66.9 million, 4.6% less than in the previous year.
Digital sales failed to make up the shortfall. A 23.2% hike in royalties brought a total of just $2.3 million. TV and radio were the SACEM’s biggest single source of income with $351.9 million, up 0.8%, of which radio accounted for $72.9 million.
Other revenues, ranging from dance to piped music in retail outlets to live concerts, rose 5.9% to $325.3 million.
The SACEM handles royalties for some 116,000 members, including composers and music publishers, 15,000 of whom are outside France. Its repertoire contains 28 million pieces of work. The top-earning title in 2006, as in previous years, was Claude Francois’ “Comme d’Habitude,” best known outside France as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”