Dutch collecting society Buma/Stemra said performing rights income was stable in 2009 compared to the previous year, but mechanical rights income dropped as a result of declining physical sales.

Buma, which focuses on performing rights for musical works, has €132.7 million ($164.6 million) available for distribution to its affiliated music authors, compared to €132.4 million ($164.3 million) in 2008.

For mechanical rights, Stemra collected €42 million ($52.1 million) in 2009, a fall of 7.3% from €45.3 million ($56.2 million) in 2008.

Membership has grown fast the last years, the society says. In 2009 it served the interests of more than 18,000 directly affiliated lyricists, composers and music publishers.

However, the organization is pessimistic about the future of Stemra. Its income from the sale of CDs and DVDs is dropping at an increasing rate every year. The turnover from the online use of music should partially compensate for this but the society said the income from this source is still disappointing.

"Without doubt there will still be a demand for [sound] carriers," said a statement. "But definitely online music distribution is the future."

The fact that the Dutch government has decided not to extend the existing Home Copy Regulation to new carriers, such as USB sticks and MP3 players, will make the income for music authors drop even further, said Buma/Stemra.

"Consequently the future of Stemra is looking more and more uncertain," the statement continued.

Buma/Stemra intends to develop joint back office operations, databases and IT systems with other collecting societies in 2010, in order to save costs.