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UK music worth £3.9bn

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The UK music industry grew 4.7 per cent last year, according to the PRS annual survey.

What's remarkable is that consumers spent pretty much the same in 2009 as they did in 2008 - while computer game sales fell 11 per cent, and DVD movie sales fell 10 per cent.

Live music continues to boom, with revenues up 9.4 per cent to £1.537bn. Retail recorded music was flat at £1.356bn. Royalties from businesses that use music, income from advertising companies, and sponsors was reckoned to be £967m.

As noted here several times before, the CD is really doing quite well too now it's cheaper - you can think of it as a high quality, DRM-free lossless file with its own backup medium. PRS economist Will Page credits retailer HMV for offsetting the loss of Woolies and Zavvi.

The average retail price of a new CD is now down to £7.99, although promotions often mean selected items can be picked up for three or four quid. Per capita revenue for UK music is $26.52 compared to the US $15.08.

However, the survey questions how long the live music boom can last - artists have been getting greedy, and failing to sell seats. The US market saw 17 per cent lower revenues from the 100 biggest tours.

"The gap between the grass roots acts and superstars is widening, both in touring and at events where the big names are needed to attract fans. This gap is also reflected in the fees demanded by many top acts (AC/DC at Download this year was a prime example)," notes Page.

"Down in the tail, the closure of pubs puts more pressure on the low end of the market, which makes it increasingly difficult for emerging talent to find an audience."

You can find the report here (2MB pdf). ®

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