Digital Music Royalties Grow; YouTube Becoming A Big Money-Spinner

UK songwriters and music publishers will make another nine percent less money from CD this year, but overall earnings will have grown thanks to online licensing and plays by hairdressers et al…

— The MCPS-PRS royalty collector expects royalties from broadcast and online use of songs to grow 11.6 percent from last year to £173 million for 2008. That still won’t make up for a 13.8 percent fall in royalties from physical formats, to £131 million – but public performance and international revenue will help grow the overall pie 3.5 percent to £582 million.

— Some truly huge figures show how influential digital is becoming compared with tired old music radio – the society is giving songwriters money from 500,000 iTunes plays and 14 million YouTube plays recorded in just the last quarter, against just 12,000 from radio….

— When you consider MCPS-PRS processed 35 million transactions across all categories, it’s clear how important YouTube is becoming to songwriters’ pay packets. MCPS-PRS was first to ratify YouTube last year; it now says the site hosts 10 million videos that contain its members music, of which its systems have recorded over 1.5 billion such plays to date. Still, for its license, YouTube gave MCPS-PRS a flat fee, which we still don’t know so it’s unclear if artists’ income is rising proportionately.

— That big stick is working. Income from hairdressers, who have to pay for tracks played in salons, is up by a quarter, factories up by 43 percent and shops up by 15 percent, after a campaign forcing such premises to face up to their obligations.

— In a sign the collector may be ready to heed the European Commission’s call for harmonisation of such societies across the continent, MCPS-PRS’ briefing note acknowledges “consolidation, alliances and shared infrastructure between music collection societies will be essential to future success. “.