The Australasian Performing Right Association and its sister rights body the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society have reported a "record year" for the 12 months ending June 30, 2010, with new highs generated in top-line revenue and in royalty payouts.

The societies' combined income during the financial period reached $222.1 million Australian ($220 million), up 5.8% on the corresponding period in the previous year. All told, the net distributable income to the societies' members rose to $194.6 million ($193 million), up 6.3%.

In its annual report, APRA and AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle said the financial year "presented many challenges but ultimately solid financial results and positive developments for APRA and AMCOS in a range of areas."

APRA has reported another steep rise in income, with gross revenue reaching $172.4 million Australian ($171 million), up 8%. The society enjoyed strong increases across various licensing fields, led by general performance licensing revenue which soared 21.6% to $50.6 million Australian ($50 million).

But the going was much tougher for AMCOS, which felt the chill from a tough climate for CD sales. AMCOS revenue was down 1.4% to $49.7 million Australian ($49 million).

Revenue generation was "more difficult," explains AMCOS, "particularly against a backdrop of continuing declines in sales of physical carriers of music and associated market 'rationalization' in the record business."

Drilling into the AMCOS figure reveals further proof of the industry's swing toward digital distribution models. "By year end," notes Cottle, "license fees collected for digital sales of recorded music were near enough to double those collected for sales of physical product" (noting that major record labels account directly to publishers on physical product sales in the Australasian market).

In fact, royalty collection at AMCOS was almost unmoved from 2009 levels, but costs increased by 1.5%.

During the year under review APRA and AMCOS settled its Copyright Tribunal litigation with digital service providers and a number of major labels, agreeing last December to a new headline royalty rate of 9% of consumer sale price for digital downloads of musical works. Cottle notes that the impact of the 12.5% increase in the royalty rate had only a partial impact during the year, but will have a significant effect on royalty receipts for the 2010-11 year.

The APRA and AMCOS business employs around 250 people, directly serves more than 62,000 writer or publisher members and provides music access services to about 75,000 businesses in Australia or New Zealand.

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