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From Sony’s historic unrecouped balances move to Universal funding [PIAS]: It’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up

Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly round-up – the place we ensure that you caught the 5 greatest tales to hit our headlines over the previous seven days. MBW’s round-up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximise their revenue and cut back their touring prices.


The headline MBW went with on our explosive story earlier in the present day did the job: In historic move, Sony Music is disregarding balances for heritage catalog artists.

But have been we feeling a mite extra mischievous, we would have gone with: Sony Music simply voluntarily decreased its revenues to ‘do the right thing’. Will Universal and Warner observe?

This will get to the crux of what is going to be an enchanting aftermath to Rob Stringer and co’s resolution to successfully write off unrecouped balances for qualifying artists signed to Sony Music earlier than the 12 months 2000.

Stringer’s making a wise gamble: {that a} small discount in Sony Music’s margin in the present day is worth it if it implies that his firm establishes a long-term status amongst the artist neighborhood – the place energy retains rising – for generosity and truthful dealing. (Quick math: if there’s, say, 2,500 legacy Sony artists who will profit, they usually’re paid by a median of $5,000 to $10,000 every per 12 months that they weren’t getting earlier than, the move will value Sony Music $12.5m to $25m every year.)

This gamble is in itself decreased, in fact, by the continued progress of streaming, and the perennial plumping-up of report firm income that instantly outcomes.

Stringer’s additionally good sufficient to know {that a} “voluntary reduction in revenues” in the present day is a heck of loads tougher a prospect to swallow for his rivals, particularly Warner Music Group – now a public entity on the NASDAQ – and, particularly, Universal Music Group… which is about to go public in Amsterdam, and is wanting to nail the most important debut day valuation potential for present Vivendi shareholders.

It might be argued that Stringer has simply plunged his rivals right into a Catch-22: If they match Sony by dismissing legacy unrecouped balances, they danger dealing with public investor uproar; in the event that they don’t match Sony by dismissing legacy unrecouped balances, they danger dealing with widespread artist upset.

A difficult balancing act.

MBW’s professional tip as we monitor this story in future: Even if Universal Music Group now follows Sony by disregarding unrecouped balances for heritage acts, don’t count on it to look like UMG is trailing its rival.

When you’re market chief, notion is all the pieces – and second is nowhere.

Think again to summer season 2018, when Rob Stringer made the sudden announcement that Sony can be paying by over $250 million to artists from its Spotify share sale, whereas ignoring these acts’ unrecouped balances.

Warner Music Group didn’t do the identical, persevering with to allocate its Spotify fairness cash towards unrecouped artist accounts. It was a extra egocentric look, but it surely bulked up WMG’s coffers.

Universal went in a special course. In November 2018, UMG, like Sony earlier than it, publicly dedicated to ignoring unrecouped balances when it bought its Spotify stakeholding. (UMG nonetheless hasn’t bought that stakeholding; its present worth is about $1.6 billion).

Universal didn’t concern an ordinary press announcement to affirm this plan. Instead, Taylor Swift introduced it as a part of her new Republic Records deal, suggesting it was probably the most important part of her recent settlement with UMG. “There was one condition which meant more to me than any other deal point,” wrote Swift on the time. “As part of my new contract with Universal Music Group, I asked that any sale of their Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable.”

Far be it for MBW to counsel this was all a fictional scripted distraction tactic concocted by UMG and the artist (one which instantly amplified Swift’s personal key model attributes of being a savvy enterprise individual unafraid to get up to The Man).

Who is aware of? Swift could effectively have slammed fists on tables, overturned desks, and threateningly hovered pens over rival report contract choices – as uncharacteristic beads of sweat abseiled down Sir Lucian Grainge‘s brow. Or maybe not.

Fact of the matter is: at the time, everyone was so dazzled by the Folklore artist’s model of occasions, most forgot to even ponder that Universal’s Spotify payout coverage was, in essence, an emulation of a pioneering move by its greatest rival.

This story, girls and gents, is additional proof that – as a lot criticism as they take on the market – the foremost report firms don’t half include some very intelligent brains.

Talking of main report firms and intelligent brains, this week additionally noticed Universal Music Group announce a brand new alliance with unbiased music powerhouse, [PIAS].

UMG might be passing over a bundle of finance to Kenny Gates’ firm, however received’t be getting fairness in return… for now, not less than.

In very-possibly-not-unrelated-but-also-possibly-unrelated news: Until the second half of 2022, UMG is banned from shopping for into any property (and signing any artists) that the European Commission pressured it to get rid of within the wake of its acquisition of EMI Music in 2012.

Elsewhere this week, Believe floated on the Euronext Paris inventory trade, as video gaming phenom Roblox started a authorized tussle with music publishers following a $200 million-plus lawsuit by the latter towards the previous.

Read on to atone for MBW’s greatest tales from the previous 5 days…


Sony Music has in the present day (June 11) made an announcement that might be talked about by the music enterprise for years to come.

In a letter despatched to 1000’s of artists in the present day and obtained by MBW, Sony Music Entertainment (SME) has introduced the launch of a brand new initiative known as “Artists Forward”, which it says focuses on “prioritizing transparency with creators in all aspects of their development”.

SME’s landmark new coverage below “Artists Forward” known as the Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program. The letter confirms: “As part of our continuing focus on developing new financial opportunities for creators, we will no longer apply existing unrecouped balances to artist and participant earnings generated on or after January 1, 2021 for eligible artists and participants globally who signed to SME prior to the year 2000 and have not received an advance from the year 2000 forward.”

2) Universal Music Group and [PIAS] strike strategic international alliance

Independent music firm [PIAS] and Universal Music Group (UMG) have struck a strategic international alliance.

As a part of the deal, Universal has dedicated to offering [PIAS] with an undisclosed bundle of funding. In return, UMG might be ready to entry [PIAS]’s worldwide distribution community by its just lately rebranded distribution and providers division, [Integral].

Unusually for a deal like this, Universal Music Group isn’t taking an fairness stake, even a minority fairness stake, in [PIAS]: The indie firm stays totally managed by [PIAS] co-founders, Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot.

3) Believe is a public firm, as CEO Denis Ladegaillerie rings bell on Paris inventory market debut

Yesterday (June 10), distribution and providers firm Believe formally went public in the present day (June 10), debuting on the Paris Euronext.

The firm floated 14.35% of its fairness through its IPO, elevating €300 million within the course of.

Subsequent to the IPO, TCV will proceed to personal 41.67% of Believe, whereas the music firm’s founder and CEO, Denis Ladegaillerie, will personal 12.62%. Another main shareholder, Ventech, will personal 17.08%.


Video gaming platform Roblox has responded to being hit with a $200 million-plus copyright infringement lawsuit from music publishers within the US, noting its “surprise and disappointment” at being sued.

News of that lawsuit broke yesterday (June 9). It’s being spearheaded by the National Music Publishers’ Association, and backed by indie and main publishers similar to Concord, Downtown, Kobalt, Hipgnosis, Reservoir, and Universal Music Publishing Group.

Responding to the accusation of widespread music copyright infringement on its platform, a Roblox spokesperson instructed MBW: “As a platform powered by a community of creators, we are passionate about protecting intellectual property rights – from independent artists and songwriters, to music labels and publishers – and require all Roblox community members to abide by our Community Rules.”


Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., professionally often called Snoop Dogg, is becoming a member of Def Jam as Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant.

With a direct concentrate on A&R and artistic growth, Snoop Dogg’s new position on the label will see him act as a senior strategic advisor.

He relies in Los Angeles and reviews to Universal Music Group Chairman & CEO Sir Lucian Grainge and Def Jam interim Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Harleston.Music Business Worldwide

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