Income from mechanical rights dropped 24%.

French authors rights society Sacem collected in 2004 € 726.5 million ($ 881 million), a 2.5% increase over 2003.

Sacem distributed € 578.1 million ($ 701 million) to its members, € 300 000 ($ 363 800) more than in 2003.

Average administrative cost rate reached 15.75%, compared with 15.2% in 2003. "This only reflects the changes in the balance of our revenue streams," said Sacem chairman of the executive board Bernard Miyet during at a press conference on Wednesday (June 22) in Paris. "Performance rights are proportionally higher in our overall income this year, and they are more costly to collect."

Sacem’s main source of revenues is television, accounting for 26% of its income, followed by public performance of recorded music (20.5%), mechanical rights (19.5%), foreign societies (9%), live performances (8.5%), radio (7.5%), fair use (7%) and cinema (2%).

Revenues from public performance posted a 7.2% growth over 2003’s figures. Increasing revenues from the live scene account from most of the rise along with broadcast, due to a good performance from advertising sales in the sector.

Revenues from mechanical rights collected on pre-recorded CDs dropped 24%, echoing the dramatic drop in CD sales in France in 2004. The 31% growth of mechanical rights collected on pre-recorded DVDs did not fill the gap, said Miyet.

While online revenues were not disclosed, income from the mobile phone sector — mostly for ringtones -- increased 68%, to € 4.7 million ($ 5.7 million).

The levy on blank CDs and DVDs rose 4.6% for audio products and 11.4% for audio-visual goods. The rise is due to the ongoing growth in sales of blank media.

Sacem departing chairman of the board Laurent Petitgirard stressed that income from the blank tape levy does not compensate the drop of mechanical revenues, as the income derived from a pre-recorded CD is 12 to 14 times bigger than the tax perceived on a blank CD.

"To sum up," said Miyet, "2004’s relative limited growth results from a significant drop in mechanical rights revenues balanced by a rise of revenues generated by the live field and the broadcast field."

During its June 15 annual assembly, Sacem members elected Claude Lemesle as the society’s new chairman of the board, succeeding composer Petitgirard. Born in 1945, Lemesle has been writing lyrics for such famous French singers as Michel Sardou, Johnny Hallyday and Gilbert Bécaud.