GEMA collected €874.4 million ($1.1 billion) for its members last year, a rise of 2.6% from 2005, according to a report released Tuesday by the authors rights society.

GEMA's costs amounted to €121.7 million ($165 million), up slightly from the previous year, meaning a total of €752.7 million ($1.022 billion) was paid out to its authors and publishers, up by more than €20 million ($27 million) from the previous year.

However, even with the earnings increase, GEMA felt the effects of an industry-wide decrease in physical sales. The total income generated by GEMA in the fields of records, videos, online and ringtones last year came to €235.1 million ($319 million), a decline of 1.2% from 2005.

Income revenues for records alone saw a 1.65% decline to €214.9 million ($291 million), and the German record market was particularly weakened.

Income from license fees collected in 2006 only reached €102.5 million ($140 million), a shortfall of more than 14%. A slight compensation for the decline came was the central licensing arrangement made by GEMA in Europe for Sony BMG and Warner.

"We are increasingly concerned to see that the gap between the volume of music consumed and lower income for the authors continued to widen last year," commented Harald Heker, chairman of the executive board of GEMA.

Collections from radio, television and public events rose during the year, while digital collections lagged. Although the international market for music distribution via the Internet has been booming, GEMA-authors did not share in the success.