The biggest music streaming providers in China, Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music, added 4.0 million paying music users quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2022, and 7.8 million respectively. TME’s official ‘paying online music’ user-base now stands at 80.2 million customers, while NetEase now stands at 36.7 million customers. Spotify net-added 2 million paying customers to its service in Q1 2022, and now stands at 182 million Premium subscribers outside of China. When it comes to finance, however, the numbers go in the Swedish company's direction - its Premium subs business generated €2.379 billion (USD $2.67bn) in the first quarter of 2022. Tencent Music online music services revenue fell to USD $413 million, while NetEase Cloud Music’s online music services generated USD $140m. MBW has all the numbers and comparisons.

The year of the Drake
April 19, 2022

Drake out-streams all pre-1980 music in the US

Drake has generated more U.S. on-demand streams in 2021 than the total number of pre-1980 records combine, according to Billboard. The Luminate numbers show that tracks from the ’50s to 1979 made up only 0.6% of streams last year, whereas Drake, whose first album came out 15 years ago, was responsible for 0.8% of all streams in 2021. Across the 988.154 billion U.S. streams from 2021, the catalog business made up 69.8% of the album consumption units in 2021, a 4.1% increase from 2020. Of that number, 90% of these units were from records relea

Last year 52,600 artists generated over $10,000 on Spotify, the platform has announced, the MBW reports. 15,140 of these 52,600 artists – around 28% – uploaded their own music. Of the 52,600 artists who generated more than $10k last year:

  • 16,500 artists generated more than $50k;
  • 9,500 artists generated more than $100k;
  • 2,170 artists generated more than $500k;
  • and 1,040 artists generated more than $1 million.

Spotify paid out $7 billion (across publishing and recorded music) to music industry rights-holders.

Spotify has struck a major four-year sponsorship agreement with Barcelona worth $310 million. MBW calculated that in order for an artist to generate $310 million in recorded music royalties on the Spotify platform – at $0.00348 per-stream average rate – they would need to rack up a gigantic 89.08 billion plays on the service. No artist in the history of Spotify has ever, across their entire catalog, attracted that many plays. The most cumulative streams ever recorded by a single artist on Spotify is Drake with 62.84 billion.

Universal Music Group saw its overall annual revenues across publishing, records, and merch hit €8.50 billion ($10.03 billion) last year, surpassing the USD $10 billion mark for the first time in history, Music Business Worldwide reports. That figure was up 17.0% year-over-year in constant currency. Also, Universal’s total revenues on a Euro basis in 2021 (€8.50bn) were more than double the size of UMG’s annua

Fortnite creator Epc Games buys Bandcamp
March 02, 2022

'Fortnite' company Epic Games buys Bandcamp

Epic Games, maker of hit video game 'Fortnite'' has acquired online music store Bandcamp, Stereogum reports. Previously, Epic acquired Harmonix, creator of Rock Band, pointing out at the time that they plan to "reimagine how music is experienced, created and distributed”. Ethan Diamond, CEO and co-founder of Bandcamp, said today that “Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans".

Sweet moneyline
March 01, 2022

Neil Diamond sells his catalog and masters

Iconic artist and songwriter Neil Diamond has sold his song catalog as well as the rights to all recordings to Universal Music Group, MBW worldwide. The agreement encompasses hits such as 'Sweet Caroline', 'Red Red Wine', 'Solitary Man', 'Cracklin’ Rosie', 'Song Sung Blue', 'Love on the Rocks' and 'America', and the catalog also includes 110 unreleased tracks, an unreleased album and archival long form videos. Diamond has sold more than 130 million albums over the past half century.

Last week Snoop Dogg released his twentieth studio album, 'B.O.D.R. (Bacc On Death Row', while also releasing the album on the blockchain through a partnership with blockchain gaming platform Gala Games, via his 'Stash Box' NFTs, sold on Gala’s new Gala Music store. Snoop Dogg’s NFTs are limited to 25,000 and each ‘box’, includes 1 of 17 songs from 'Bacc On Death Row'. Each box costs $5,000. On Wednesday there were 16 thousand NFTs remaining, and if that means that the other 9,000 have been sold at the asking price – then the NFT sale has generated at least $45 million. If all 25,000 sell out, Snoop Dogg’s Stash Box NFT’s will have generated total revenues of $125 million, MBW points out.

Every little song he sells is magic
February 10, 2022

Sting sells his music catalog for $300 million

Singer, songwriter and bassist Sting has sold his entire song catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group, MBW reports, adding an assessment by an expert industry source who believes the final acquisition fee reached north of $300 million. The catalog features the entirety of both Sting’s solo works, as well as those with The Police, including mega-hits like 'Roxanne', 'Every Breath You Take', 'Shape Of My Heart', 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', 'Fields Of Gold', 'Desert Rose', 'Message in a Bottle', 'Englishman in New York' and 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'.

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, and Warner Music Group generated $20.28 billion in annual revenues in 2021, which is the equivalent of turning over around $2.3 million every hour, MBW reports. Warner generated $5.58 billion across its global music publishing and recorded music divisions in calendar 2021, Sony generated $7.49 billion, whereas Universal generated $7.21 billion in just the first nine months of 2021 – not including Q4.

Pirates of the stream
February 03, 2022

Music piracy grew last year, after 5 years of decline

Music piracy declined consistently year-on-year from January 2017 - there was a 65% decrease in music-related piracy visits globally in 2021 compared to 2017. Then, last year, a change - there was a 2.18% increase in 2021 compared to 2020, and an 18.6% increase in Q4 2021 compared to Q4 2020. MBW looks for reasons. The No.1 online destination for music piracy is so called ‘stream-ripping’ websites, which allow users to rip and download audio from YouTube, and which accounted for 39.2% of all music piracy globally in 2021, up from 33.9% in 2020.

Warner Music Group, the world’s third largest music rights company, has announced a “legacy unrecouped advances program”, which will in effect scrap any unrecouped debt for artists who signed to the label before the year 2000. The program is set to be put into effect on July 1. MBW assesses this news as "huge".

Investment company HarbourView Equity Partners has acquired the publishing catalog of latin music superstar Luis Fonsi, the artist known globally for his megahit 'Despacito' with Daddy Yankee, MBW reports. Launched just four months ago by former Tempo Music CEO Sherrese Clarke Soares, HarbourView is focused on investment opportunities in the media and entertainment space. The Financial Times reports that “industry executives estimated that Fonsi’s catalog could fetch as much as $100 million”.

Rights and cashy days
January 24, 2022

Bob Dylan sells recorded music catalog

Bob Dylan has sold the master rights to his entire recorded music catalog to Sony Music Entertainment, in a deal worth over $200 million, by Billboard estimate. In 2020, Dylan sold the publishing rights of his entire catalog to Universal Music Publishing in a deal that’s estimated to be worth over $300 million. Songs have two copyrights: recorded rights (which include master tracks) and publishing rights (which pertain to composition—i.e., music and lyrics). Rolling Stone puts it simply: “Recorded rights are tied more directly to streaming and sales royalties while publishing rights pertain more to performances and use in film and television”.

Very interesting facts in Rolling Stone's article about last year's highest-paid musicians. The world’s 10 highest-paid musicians of 2021 made in a combined $2.3 billion, which is more than double what they were making annually in the years before Covid-19. Only Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift made the top 10 without a massive catalog sale, the others like Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Red Hot Chili Peppers made a majority of their income by selling their catalogs.

The United States of Strummers
January 09, 2022

Since pandemic began 16 million Americans picked up guitar

In the US alone, 16 million people have picked up guitar since the pandemic began, many of them for the first time, Fender's CEO Andy Mooney told CNBC, based on their comprehensive research. Sales of guitars, according to CNBC, have nearly doubled since 2020, total sales are up 30% in 2021, and sub-500$ guitar sales are up 40%.

Stairway to play
January 06, 2022

82% of the US music market taken by "old" music

"Catalog" records accounted for a stunning 82.1% of total recorded music consumption in the US in the second half of 2021, MBW reports. On the other hand, that means "current" records made up just 17.9% of US music consumption in the last six months of 2021. "Catalog" music counts as anything released over 18 months before a consumer made a purchase and/or pressed play. MGW later admitted they miscalculated, and that the actual percentage was  73.1%.

David Bowie's estate has sold his publishing catalog to Warner Chappell Music for upwards of $250 million, Variety reports. The deal includes songs such as 'Heroes', 'Changes', 'Space Oddity', Rebel Rebel', 'Ziggy Stardust' and hundreds more from the 26 studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous studio album release, 'Toy', which comes out on Friday.

A reminder to Dan Runcie's earlier essay: "Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West are on the top shelf of rap’s new-money class. They became world-famous millionaires through the music industry, but realized they would have to sell more than music to become billionaires. The 'Run This Town' trio used music as the gateway, then capitalized on their influence at the height of their fame. Jay-Z made bank from selling Ace of Spades champagne and investing in startups. Rihanna built her Fenty empire into multiple brands. And Ye has sold so many Yeezys he’s probably lost count. The bottom line? Star power gets you in the door, but to maximize your platform, you need to sell something authentic that customers want to keep buying".

Bruce Springsteen has sold the masters of his entire catalog to Sony Music and the coinciding music publishing rights to Sony Music Publishing in a combined deal of around $500 million, Billboard reports. Springsteen’s catalog spanning 50 years, includes over 300 songs, 20 studio albums, 23 live LPs, 7 EPs, and more.

Mötley Crüe have inked a new deal to sell their entire recorded music catalog to BMG. Mötley Crüe acquired their masters back from label Elektra in the late Nineties for a reported $10 million. As Music Business Worldwide's sources indicate, the Mötley Crüe acquisition lands firmly in the high eight-figure region - somewhere around $90 million.

Music Business Worldwide is pretty much impressed by the latest YouTube revenue numbers: the world’s largest video platform generated $7.205 billion in revenues from advertising in Q3 this year, up 43%, or by over $2 billion, year-on-year versus the same quarter of 2020. In the first nine months of this year, YouTube generated $20.21 billion from advertising, more than it generated from ads in the entirety of both 2020 ($19.77bn) and 2019 ($15.15bn). To put that in perspective - in 2019, the global record industry generated $20.2 billion in global wholesale revenues. In 2020, it generated $21.6 billion.

A number of digital service owners – including Spotify, Apple, Amazon, and Google – are trying to cut the amount of money they pay songwriters in the US to the “lowest royalty rates in history”. The National Music Publishers’ Association, on the other side, is looking to raise the current rate up to 20% of a streaming service’s annual revenues (it's 15,1% at the time). Music Business Worldwide tries to find out whether the music streaming services can actually afford to pay artists more.

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.

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