Dutch authors’ rights society Buma/Stemra saw revenues rise 2% in 2008, despite a 13% decline in mechanical right collections.
In a statement, the body claimed it had “managed to achieve satisfying results over 2008 in turbulent market conditions.” However, growth was considerably down on that shown in 2007. The 2% rise saw Buma/Stemra’s total revenues hit €185 million ($259 million); the equivalent year-on-year rise in 2007 had been 7.5%.
The performing right fees collected by Buma rose 8% to €140 million ($196 million), but the continuing slump in CD and DVD sales saw the mechanical royalties collected by Stemra drop 13% to €45 million ($63 million). The statement blamed the overall slowdown of growth on “the digitisation on the music market, uncertainty regarding political decisions on copyright legislation as well as the economic downturn that started in the second half of 2008.”
In recent years, Buma/Stemra has made what it describes as “limited risk” investments of money it receives through tariffs intended to compensate rights owners for illegal copying of copyrighted music.
According to the body’s managing director Cees Vervood, that investment is used to reduce operational costs, “as well as building up reserves for years with possible lesser investment results.” Vervood claimed in a statement that Buma/Stemra was “able, due to the reserves, to pay out in excess of 95% of revenue to our members. We are fairly proud of this achievement.”
Buma/Stemra said it plans to introduce new licensing models with simplified processes this year. It also plans to invest in updated systems which will help it “trace all distribution channels and to ensure payment to its members.”