French royalties dip

Music sales on the decline

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.”

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