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Responding to a question from Music Publishers Association chief Stephen Navin, Burnham said they needed to make their presence felt amongst the NuLab wonks and quangos. He pointed out that there were no music business representatives on BERR's "Convergence Think Tank".

"Ask yourselves - 'are you engaging enough?'" urged the minister.

But then the choice of appointees tells its own story.

Whatever you think about the merits of British music's claims, it's hard to imagine a French culture minister telling the French wine industry that they need to "keep in there" or else he'll forget that they exist.

As for the PPL, its annual figures showed a healthy demand for music. The collection society distributes money from recordings played on TV and radio as well as pubs and restaurants.

For the first time, the PPL annual income topped eight figures in 2007. The society returned £99.5m back to rights holders, after costs of discovery and payment - the deduction is 14.6 per cent of revenue. The distributable income was up 18 per cent on 2006.

The PPL credits the improvement to better systems - particularly an Oracle database - which means fewer people are needed to administer the system. 90 per cent of radio play is now based on actual usage, rather than guesstimates and sampling.

Reciprocal income from oversees societies grew quickly to reach £9.1m in 2007 - but there's much to do, the PPL said. After many years, a bill now proposes to bring US radio into line with the rest of the world and broadcasters may soon start paying recording royalties.

(See more on the background to this, here).

Online is growing, but is still a tiny part of overall broadcast. With the PPL now licensing 'interactive' digital media, royalties of £1.42m were collected, compared to £56.8m of total broadcast. ®

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