Jaimie Branch

South Arts, a nonprofit arts organization based in Atlanta, will award grants ranging from approximately $25,000 to $40,000 to 52 jazz artists, all summed-up $2 million to dozens of musicians like Damon Locks, Jaimie Branch, and Kip Hanrahan. Matty Karas compares this amount to hundreds of millions of dollars being paid out to pop and rock stars for their back catalogs: "Which of these sounds like the more meaningful contribution: the one designed to enrich music's one percenters and Wall Street speculators, or the one designed to support the ongoing, life-affirming work of music's vibrant middle class? Which will result in the creation of better music? Which will do more to sustain that creation, and enrich the rest of us, in the years ahead?".

Primary Wave has acquired a stake in the company owned by the estate of the legendary Bing Crosby, in a deal "estimated in excess of $50 million’, AP News reports. This deal includes the Bing Crosby Archives, featuring thousands of recordings by Bing Crosby and other artists, many of which have never been released. Terms of the deal include artist royalties from master recordings featuring Crosby’s performances, writer royalties from songs written by Bing Crosby, his rights in the film 'White Christmas', as well as other film, radio, and television productions. In addition, Primary Wave has acquired a stake in his name, likeness, and rights of publicity.

"The giants of the financial world are now really waking up to the modern music business’s true value – and they’re throwing billions at it", Music Business Worldwide writes announcing a major shift in music rights. New York-based investment management titan Apollo Global Management is investing up to $1 billion in HarbourView. Investment company Blackstone is about to launch a new joint entity with Hipgnosis, that will have a billion dollars or significantly more to spend on music copyrights. KKR (& Co Inc) – which already has an existing billion-dollar investment vehicle in music running with BMG – has a portfolio of assets under its management worth $234 billion.

Music is a male noun
October 06, 2021

Women in UK music industry earn 25% less than men

Sony Music and Warner Music published their UK gender pay gap reports, revealing a mean average gender pay gap in 2020 (as of April 5, 2019) of 26.0% and 31.5% at the two companies, respectively, Music Business Worldwide reports. It's slowly closing, but it's still a crevasse - last year it was 29.1% at Universal Music, 20.9% at Sony Music and 38.7% at Warner Music. The mean average ‘gender pay gap’ reflects what the average female employee earns versus the average male employee at each company.

Simply the best retirement fund
October 06, 2021

BMG buys Tina Turner back catalog in biggest deal for the company

Tina Turner has sold the rights to her music catalogue - share of her recordings, her music publishing writer’s share, neighboring rights and name, image, and likeness - to BMG, in the biggest single-artist rights acquisition for the German company. MBW believes that this acquisition is in the $50 million-and-above category.

Warner Music Group boss Steve Cooper revealed a stunning stat about this second, less talked-about area of the business – a stat that, according to MBW’s calculations, suggests this is a sector already worth a billion dollars in annual revenue for the global music rights industry. Cooper confirmed that Warner Music Group’s recorded music operation has a present run-rate of $235 million per year in revenue from Facebook, TikTok, Peloton and Roblox.

Got something for songwriters?
September 21, 2021

Universal hits massive valuation of €46.3 billion

Universal Music Group's opening price on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange today was over a third bigger than the reference price that Vivendi confirmed previously of €18.50 ($21.7) which would have valued UMG at €33.5 billion (approx. $39bn), Music Business Worldwide. It means that as of this week, UMG has a €25.25 ($29.63) share price, which translates to a colossal valuation of €46.3 billion or $54.3 billion for the world’s biggest music rightsholder. UMG largely bids au revoir to former Paris-based parent Vivendi, which now owns just 10% of UMG, while a Tencent-led Consortium owns 20%. Pershing Square Holdings Ltd also owns 10%, and French businessman ex-Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bolloré’s ‘Bolloré Entities’ owns 18.0%.

"It’s worth repeating: the song is the currency of our business. Yet the songwriter — who delivers the most important component to the success of a record company, publisher, promoter, manager, agent, music venue, radio station, broadcaster et al – is the lowest paid person in the economic equation. An equation that has made the modern music industry a juggernaut" - Hipgnosis Fund's Merck Mercuriadis writes in an open letter to the music industry, and then he scores comparing this to sports: "Imagine in football or basketball if athletes that were responsible for a league’s success were the worst paid people in the economic equation". Music Business Worldwide published the whole letter.

Portishead's cover of Abba's 'SOS' has earned 500 percent more through new Spotify "fan-powered” royalty model, when compared with other streaming platforms, Pitchfork claims. The new model, unveiled by the company back in March, directs royalties due from each subscriber only to the artists they are currently streaming – a system backed by independent artists, as well as advocates for a fairer streaming model. This is in contrast to the pro-rata model utilised by streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, where royalty payments from users’ subscriptions are distributed in accordance with which artists have the most plays.

Anghami is a music streaming service based in the Middle East, namely Abu Dhabi, serving mostly the Middle East. "It has 70 million registered users and nearly 60 million songs in its library. It’s also set to be the first Arab tech startup to go public on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange. Anghami’s trajectory has also been something of a case study in how the global music industry is being slowly transformed from outside its core centers of New York, Los Angeles, and London". Rest of the World brings the whole story.

YouTube has surpassed the milestone of 50 million YouTube Music and Premium subscribers, growing its subscriber base by around 20 million in the past 11 months, or around 1.8m subscribers per month since October 2020, MBW reports on the music stat. YouTube's biggest rival Spotify's global Premium Subscriber base grew to 165 million in Q2 2021, which was up 20% year-on-year. Apple Music in June 2019 announced it had surpassed 60 million subscribers.

"A large portion of the people that are streaming, they've never owned a CD, they may not listen to the radio, and when they hear David Bowie's Life On Mars, they're hearing it for the first time" - songwriter Ryan Tedder, who wrote songs for Adele, Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Lil Nas X - told the BBC. "So the source of discovery is the last 70 years of music. It's all brand new, right now. So you're competing with every song that has ever come out". He's got a point - entertainment analysts MRC Data say that catalogue albums (defined as anything older than 18 months) now account for 66.4% of all streams worldwide.

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, and Warner Music Group have generated $5.60 billion in the three months to end of June, up by $1.53 billion (or +37.6%) on the same period of last year, Music Business Worldwide calculates. That $5.60 billion turnover equates to the three majors cumulatively generating $61.5 million per day in the year’s second quarter – or, in turn, $2.56 million every hour. In the first six months of 2020, the three major music companies generated $10.91 billion – putting them firmly on course for a cumulative $20 billion year.

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie has sold her 115-title song catalog, including hits such as 'Don’t Stop', 'You Make Loving Fun', 'Over My Head', 'Songbird', and 'Say You Love Me', to Hipgnosis, Music Business Worldwide reports. McVie first joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 helping them become one of the most commercially successful music artists of the past 50 years, with the Grammy-winning 1977 album 'Rumours' selling more than 45 million copies worldwide. Hipgnosis has spent more than $2 billion in three years acquiring rights to a vast number of popular songs. Hipgnosis’s filings reveal that McVie's 115 songs acquired in the deal generated $1.7 million in 2020, $1.72m in 2019 and $1.58m in 2018. Hipgnosis usually pays an average multiple of 15 times the annual income, which would bring the price to McVie's songs to approx. $100 million.

Soo nigh to billion
August 04, 2021

Sony generates a record $996 million from streaming

Harry Styles

Sony Music generated $1.39 billion from recorded music in the second quarter of 2021, a 48.2% year-on-year rise, or a massive USD $451 million versus the same period in 2020. Sony generated $996.4 million from streaming alone – an all-time high, and brushing the magic billion dollar mark for the first time, Music Business Worldwide reports. This recorded music streaming revenue haul was up by a whopping 50.2% year-on-year, versus the $663.4 million the firm posted in calendar Q2 2020. Sony's biggest revenue-generating projects were by Harry Styles, Lil Nas X, and Polo G.

A pandemic of YouTubeing
July 31, 2021

YouTube is generating $3 million an hour from ads

In the three months to the end of June 2021 (Q2), YouTube generated a whopping $7.002 billion from advertising alone – equivalent to approximately $77 million a day, or $3.2 million every hour, Music Business Worldwide reports. The rise is astonishing - YouTube’s Q2 2021 ad revenue was up by 83.7% on the equivalent figure from 2020. In the six months to the end of June this year, the platform generated $13.007 billion in ad revenues, almost double what YouTube generated in the equivalent six months of 2020 ($7.850 billion). These numbers don’t include subscription revenue on YouTube generated by those customers paying for YouTube Music and YouTube Premium each month. Looking back, the numbers impress even more - YouTube rode out 2020 having generated some $19.77 billion from ads in the year – actually up 30.5% on the equivalent annual figure from 2019.

Spotify's Premium Subscriber base grew to 165 million in the second quarter of 2021, which was up 20% year-on-year. The company’s total global monthly active users grew 22% year-on-year to 365 million in Q2 2021. Spotify’s Premium subscriber growth translated into revenue of €2.056 billion in Q2. That's big numbers, there are some small numbers, on which everything depends really - the firm’s average monthly revenue per subscriber landed at €4.29 in Q2. Music Business Worldwide takes a closer look at the numbers.

Apart from their societal influence, K-pop septet is a major money-maker in their country. According to the Korea Culture And Tourism Institute, BTS is bringing an estimated 5 billion dollars to the South Korean economy each year. The group is fueling interests in all things Korean - tourism, language, films, television, fashion, and food. NPR discusses BTS' influence in the latest podcast.

"There were 555.3 billion streams of music on audio and video platforms in the United States in the first six months of 2021 – up by 54.3 billion year-on-year" - MBW reports, and points out to a much more important fact. "Catalog music’s share of total album consumption in the US has rises to 66.4%, whereby ‘catalog’ reflects anything released over 18 months before a consumer made a purchase and/or pressed play. That 66.4% figure was up from 63.9% in the first six months of 2020, and up from 60.8% in the first six months of 2018. Conversely, the percentage of total album consumption claimed by ‘current’ music – that’s music released within the prior 18 months of a consumer making a purchase and/or pressing play – keeps on falling. In the first half of 2021, ‘current’ music claimed just 33.6% of total consumption, down from 36.1% in H1 2020".

MBW goes into some fun music math regarding Queen: the British rock band generated £41.95 million ($58.1 million) in 12 months prior to September 2020, with royalties amounting to £41.67 million ($57.7 million). In FY2019 (the 12 months to the end of September 2019), Queen Productions Ltd generated £72.77 million ($100.8m), of which £71.53 million ($99m) was from royalties. On the other hand, Hipgnosis Songs Fund takes 18 multiple as a reasonable reflection of the market value of gold-standard music publishing rights today. In the past three years, according to Queen Productions Ltd, the band’s rights have generated some £134.5 million ($186 million) in royalties. That’s an average across these three years of $62 million per annum. So, an 18 multiple on $62 million would make Queen’s royalty-bearing rights worth - $1.1 billion today.

The strategies of the Big Three record labels - Universal Music Group (UMG), Warner Music Group (WMG), and Sony Music Entertainment (SME) - dictate the future, even for companies outside of the major label system. They are investing billions of dollars to keep your attention for as long as possible. Their moves signal the best opportunities, and the areas getting slept on - Trapital's Dan Runcie goes behind the moves of the labels which hold 69% of the recorded music revenue.

Warner Music Group has confirmed that it has acquired the entire recordings catalog of French DJ/producer superstar David Guetta. Financial Times reports that the Guetta deal cost Warner more than $100 million, whereas MBW's sources say the price was lower than $150 million. This news is interesting, among other reasons, because it hints that Warner’s catalog acquisition strategy today may be leaning towards hits created in the past 20 years.

Boomer rock acts such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon have made the biggest splash selling their music catalogs for 9-figure sums. Synchtank explores the possibility of catalogs of hip-hop artists reaching those levels. Trapital's Dan Runcie believes hip-hop catalogs are indeed undervalued and that the "music that came out from the mid-90s to mid-2010s will be especially popular with the Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z. Some investors may undervalue hip-hop because they identify more with Paul Simon than Paul Wall. Another group of investors will recognize the opportunity".

Music Business Worldwide goes into the reasoning around the precedent business move by Sony Music, as the big publisher has announced it is disregarding unrecouped balances for heritage catalog artists. "This would see modern-day royalty earnings of these acts get paid into their pockets, rather than being swallowed by a record label with whom they may have ended dealings decades ago". MBW argues that's a "small reduction in Sony Music’s margin today is worthwhile if it means that his company establishes a long-term reputation amongst the artist community – where power keeps growing – for generosity and fair dealing. (Quick math: if there’s, say, 2,500 legacy Sony artists who will benefit, and they’re paid through an average of $5,000 to $10,000 each per year that they weren’t getting before, the move will cost Sony Music $12.5m to $25m per annum)".

The U.S. music publishing industry registered a 9.6% revenue increase to $4.077 billion in 2020, up from $3.72 billion in 2019, Billboard reports. In 2019 total revenue was up 12.7% from $3.3 billion in 2018. Although 2020 was the year of the lockdown, surprisingly, performance collections grew 7.92% to $2.1 billion from $1.945 billion in 2019.

Rolling Stone looks at the music industry's trend of trying to "concoct new ways to profit from the legacy of rock stars from days past. Some well-heeled investors are shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for lucrative publishing catalogs; others are making use of TikTok and developing technologies like holograms; others envision deepfake software that could create 'new' songs by departed artists. Industry experts say that’s just the beginning".

Several companies have spent billions of dollars buying music catalogs of established pop stars. Variety goes behind the new model in the music business: "A song catalog is an asset much more complicated than, say, a Picasso or even many real estate properties, and some investors seem to enter the arena on the mistaken premise that all songs, or even all hit songs, are created equal. In reality, they are demanding, ephemeral assets that require a lot of attention — pitching, repackaging, finding new opportunities — without oversaturating and thus damaging the artist (a.k.a the brand) or the songs".

Lady Gaga / Taylor Swift

New York-based Pershing Square Tontine Holding, led by billionaire CEO Bill Ackman, is to acquire 10% of Universal Music Group for approximately $4 billion. The deal would value the label at $40 billion and make it the largest ever investment by a blank check vehicle, Reuters reports. Universal, owned by the parent company Vivendi and controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, has benefited from growing streaming revenues at the world's biggest music label, which is behind artists such as Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. The deal would give Universal an enterprise value of 35 billion euros ($42.4 billion).

House of Pain

New York-based music rights company Reservoir has acquired the US record label and music publishing company Tommy Boy Music LLC - home to Queen Latifah, Afrika Bambaataa, Digital Underground, Coolio, De La Soul, House of Pain and Naughty By Nature, among others - in a deal valued at approximately $100m. Reservoir’s deal to buy Tommy Boy comprises 6,000+ masters including Coolio’s 'Gangsta’s Paradise', House of Pain’s 'Jump Around', and Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force’s 'Planet Rock', MBW reports. Apart from the hip-hop pioneers, Tommy Boy also introduced EDM to mainstream audiences through releases by LFO, Coldcut, and 808 State, while helping to establish the Latin Freestyle and Latin Hip-Hop genres with releases by TKA, K7, and Information Society.

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