Have the Brits Hit Bottom? The Latest Industry Stats

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The elusive bottom. In the US, the numbers keep sinking.

But in the UK, aggregate industry sales have been inching upward since 2007, and recordings are flat year-over-year. Is this good news for the Brits?

The numbers tell an interesting tale.  According to data just released by PRS for Music, recording, live, and B2B revenues elevated 4.7 percent to £3.9 billion ($6.2 billion) in 2009.  That is up from £3.6 billion in 2008, and £3.2 billion in 2007.  Recordings – essentially CDs and downloads – landed at £1.36 billion ($2.19 billion), flat from 2008 but a reversal of a five-year decline.

Then, live and B2B (largely licensing) both gained.  Specifically, live bumped 9.4 percent to £1.54 billion ($2.46 billion), while B2B gained 4.4 percent to £967 million ($1.54 billion).  The B2B basket includes are range of licensing uses, and foreign licensing revenues drove the improvement.

Of course, this is a fluid situation, and the US is casting a tough shadow.  Ahead in digital, the US-based recorded music story is sagging, and the live sector is also suffering.  Actually, a number of UK-based festivals were forced to cancel last year, though ultimately, fewer events netted higher aggregate returns.  “The way the numbers stack up this year suggests that the sector has mastered pricing their scarcity during a recession,” the PRS report asserts.