*Music acts including Coldplay and Iron Maiden contributed to a stellar year for the UK industry as exports leapt to record levels.
Despite the deepening economic gloom, British musical talent earned 15 per cent more in royalties from abroad during the 12 months to the end of December, according to PRS for Music, which collects royalties for songwriters and composers. Steve Porter, PRS's chief executive, said: "Music is a great UK success story. Britain is the number one home of musical talent in the world."
The royalties from UK acts touring rose from £121.2m in 2007 to £139.6m last year, driven by demand for acts including Elton John, Mark Knopfler and Girls Aloud. The Police were Britain's most in demand touring act last year, with other reformed groups the Spice Girls and The Cure also proving popular abroad, according to research carried out by Pollstar.
The most lucrative market for British artists was the US, where revenues rose to £21.7m. The second biggest royalty generator was Germany with £15m, followed by France's £11.6m. PRS pointed out that international royalties have more than doubled since 1999, when they stood at £68m.
PRS exists to "collect and pay royalties to our members when their music is exploited". This includes recordings, performances and material put online.