PRS For Music, U.K. Royalty Collection Society, Predicts Difficult 2011
PRS For Music, U.K. Royalty Collection Society, Predicts Difficult 2011

Music has commanded a lower amount of U.K. consumers' spending over the last 14 years, according to a report by PRS for Music Chief Economist Will Page.

In 1997, both live and recorded music spending represented 0.38% of consumers' total expenditures. In other words, music had a 0.38% wallet share. Music's wallet share bounced around between 0.37% and 0.38% until it dropped to 0.36% in 2002 and fell continuously to 0.29% in 2007. Wallet share rebounded to 0.32% in 2009 and dropped to an estimated 0.29% in 2010. So in the last 14 years, music's wallet share dropped from 0.38% to 0.29%.

Since the heyday of recorded music, live music spending has increased enough to make up for recorded music's fall. Recorded music spending peaked at £2 billion (about $3.2 billion) in 2003 and stands at roughly £1.3 billion now ($2.1 billion; those figures are not adjusted for inflation). In contrast, live music has grown since 1997 - especially in the last five years - and now exceeds recorded music spending.

The study looks at consumer spending on both live and recorded music. Live music spending was calculated using royalty collections on primary tickets, TixDaq data on the secondary market and PRS's estimates of ancillary spending. Recorded music spending figures came from the annual BPI Statistical Handbook.

Page draws several observations. First, he notes that U.K. spending on music has been stable from 2000 to now at around £2.5 billion ($4.5 billion), not adjusting for inflation. Second, he wonders if live music has benefitted from unbundling and piracy by tapping into money that would have previously gone to recorded music. Third, he notes that live and recorded music prices are going in the opposite directions. As supply of CDs has fallen, their price has fallen from £11.99 (about $19.50) in 2000 to about £7.99 ($13.00) today. Over the past decade, most live venues have succeeded in supplying a greater number of shows, with increased capacities and at a higher price - and still selling out," he writes.