German performance rights society GEMA has reported income of €823 million ($1.08 billion) in 2008, down 3.1% from €849.6 million ($1.11 billion) in 2007.

GEMA will be paying out a sum of €700.6 million ($919.2 million) to its members for 2008, a decline of 3.9% compared with 2007. Meanwhile, expenses rose from €120.3 million ($157.9 million) in 2007 to €122.4 million ($160.7 million) last year, an increase of 4.9% in the society's costs, up from 14.2% to 14.9% of its overall income.

Chairman Dr Harald Heker attributes this decline to the general economic climate. "The music industry in Germany and also around the world sustained substantial drops in revenues from the sale and licensing of recorded music in 2008," he said.

The performing and broadcasting rights income increased from €399.1 million ($523.5 million) in 2007 to €402.2 million ($527.4 million) in 2008. This includes a sum of €80.9 million ($106.1 million) for live music, compared with €83 million ($108.8 million) in 2007.

Mechanical revenue from physical sales fell from €182 million ($238.7 million) in 2007 to €150.3 million ($197.1 million) last year, a fall of 17.4%.

A breakdown of digital income was not published and there were no comparable year-on-year figures.

GEMA also expects a further decline in proceeds in 2009. "This will be particularly caused by a continued drop in domestic and non-domestic proceeds from recorded music," said Heker.

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