Spanish authors body SGAE is claiming that publishers' reliance on physical product sales is a thing of the past after revealing a 10% rise in rights collections to €344 million ($534 million) during 2007.

Speaking at the 91,000-member collecting society's Madrid head office, SGAE executive president Teddy Bautista declared that the results showed that "the collapse in the music-rights collecting sector has ended. Our income sources are now much more diversified, and physical product is no longer a key to market success."

According to SGAE, nearly half of 2007's total revenue came from performing rights payments made by radio, TV, digital and cable services. Those yielded €160 million ($248.8 million), a 23% increase from 2006. Bautista explained, however, that the figure was inflated because in 2007 public radio/TV channel RTVE paid some rights that had been owed from previous years.

With physical music sales still dropping, mechanical rights fell 7.3% to €65.6 million ($102 million). But SGAE reported that performance rights from live concerts rose 14.4% to €43 million ($66.9 million).

Bautista added that SGAE estimates that the average annual cost of authors rights to each Spaniard of €7.12 ($11) is "significantly lower" than the cost per person in most other European countries. Based on figures published by GEMA (Germany), the MCPS-PRS Alliance (the UK), SACEM-SDRM (France), and SIAE (Italy), Bautista claimed the figure was nearer €11 ($17) in the United Kingdom and France, and €10 ($15.5) in Germany and Italy.

Despite the positive figures, Bautista noted at a media briefing yesterday (May 6) that digital piracy is still prevalent in Spain. SGAE estimates that in 2006 some 1.2 billion tracks and 300 million movies were illegally downloaded domestically.

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