Shine Taken Off A Golden Decade

UK box office receipts dropped in 2010, for the first time in more than a decade, according to the latest figures from PRS For Music.

Fans reportedly paid £844 million for face-value tickets, 11.8 percent down on the £957 million they paid in 2009.

A mixture of reasons – global economics, plummeting CD sales, digital piracy and a lack of big-name acts on the road – led to a 4.8 percent drop in the UK’s live and recorded music business revenues to £3.8 billion.

PRS For Music chief economist Will Page says it’s no surprise his association’s third-annual “Adding Up The UK Music Industry” report shows the business has dropped £189 million because consumers are “feeling their wallets tighten.”

There are also signs it’s not necessarily the end of a golden decade, but more of a blip that took some of the shine off the previous 10 years.

There’s evidence, albeit inconclusive, that the live side of the business is doing better than the recorded side.

PRS says the recorded music business was worth £1.24 billion and the live side brought in £1.48 billion, although the latter figure includes the secondary ticket market’s contribution.

One of the main arguments against the secondary market is that it sucks money out of the business, so many may its inclusion in the “income” column.

PRS factors in the secondary market and “at-the-event spending,” presumably including programmes, food, beverages and merchandise, as being worth £636 million – about 42 percent of the sector’s total.

Part of the drop on the live music side was blamed on the fact that some major acts, such as The Rolling Stones and Take That, didn’t tour in 2010.

The recorded music side also lacked the mega-selling albums from such as Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson.

“It would be very tempting to look at these numbers and jump towards a knee-jerk reaction that the live music bubble has burst. We should not,” the report said. “Our view is that the live music business is not entering a cycle of boom and bust, but rather showing signs of maturity and cooling to a more sustainable growth path, after a period of unprecedented growth.”

PRS, which collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, expects this year’s revenues will likely bounce back due to Take That’s record-breaking stadium shows and tours by Rihanna, Westlife and Justin Bieber.