Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) has reported that its music copyright collections declined again.

JASRAC's total collections for the last fiscal year, which ended on March 31, were down 3.1% compared to the previous year, and came to 109.5 billion yen ($1.2 billion). The decline is bigger than last year, when collections dropped 2.4% compared to the year before that.

One of the main causes of the drop was the fall in mechanical royalty collections, which plunged 10% to 36.3 billion yen ($405.9 million). This is in line with the 10% drop in the volume of physical production that the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) reported for Q1 of the 2010 calendar year (Billboard, April 19).

Performance rights royalties increased by 0.6% to 52.3 billion yen ($585.2 million).

Digital based collections for cell phone and Internet downloads and streaming services rose 6.3% to 9.4 billion yen ($105.2 million). The main gainer here was full song downloads which jumped 18.2% to 5.1 billion yen ($57.1 million).

JASRAC attributed the overall slide in collections to the general economic recession in Japan. But given the fall in physical production as well as copyright collections the industry seems to be facing challenges that extend beyond the economic climate.