Feeds

Composers, songwriters feel squeeze from disappearing CD

While miserable tight-fisted internet giants won't pay up

Top three mobile application threats

Composers and songwriters are feeling the pinch as the CD disappears from the High Street, and tight-fisted internet giants refused to pay for music.

Music royalty collection society the PRS, or as it styles itself after a spell in the Strategy Boutique, "PRS for Music" (so as not to be confused with PRS for Fish Food, presumably) announced its annual results today.

Composition royalties from recorded media fell by 8.8 per cent, although this was partially offset by increased royalties from the use of UK compositions abroad, radio fees, and a minor digital increase. Overall, revenue collected fell by one per cent from 2009 to £169.8m.

There are two royalties associated with a piece of music: the composition and the recording itself. PRS collects the composition royalty from licensing public performances of the work, and also the mechanical royalty, a small fee payable to composers from the reproduction of a recording.

The latter is a historical curiosity that dates back to the player piano, but allows the PRS to keep tabs on record sales. The PRS keeps around 15 per cent as an overhead; the society claims big efficiency improvements, so while £7m less income was received, payouts only fell by £800,000.

Deals with radio and TV still bring home the biggest chunk of income for songwriters and composers: £173.2m last year.

This group's biggest historic enemy was the record companies, on whom they depended for their accounting. But now, the biggest challenge for songwriters is extracting anything from internet services, such as Google, for the use of music. Google's YouTube is the world's default online jukebox, but merely gives a pittance back.

When Rick Astley's Never Going To Give You Up notched up millions of hits on the back of the "rickrolling" fad, one of the songwriters received just £12 from Google's YouTube. Yet even this is too much for the tight-fisted stewards of the Chocolate Factory, which is seeking to revise copyright law in the UK so it pays out even less.

Digital revenues for British songwriters and composers in 2009 were £26.5m, up less than £1m year-on-year, and still barely half the revenue earned from radio.

Did someone say "New Economy"? ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.