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From Universal’s billions to Deezer’s new Board Director… it’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up


Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly round-up – where we make sure you caught the five biggest stories to hit our headlines over the past seven days. MBW’s round-up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.


It’s fair to say that Universal Music Group‘s latest financial results this week brought good news for investors in the company – and investors in music more generally.

That’s because of the crucial stat that MBW pored over yesterday (March 2), which showed that UMG’s annual turnover from recorded music subscription streaming grew by 10.0% year-on-year (at constant currency) in 2022 – maintaining, just, the double-digit yearly growth the music industry has grown used to in recent times.

Across UMG’s entire business (records, publishing, and other activities), the company generated EUR €10.34 billion (USD $10.87bn) in 2022, up by an impressive 13.6% YoY at constant currency

Elsewhere, this week, MBW ran an in-depth report on HYBE, its relationship with Scooter Braun, and the motivations behind HYBE America’s $300 million acquisition of US hip-hop specialists Quality Control last month.

Tl; dr? HYBE is desperate to dilute its continued commercial over-reliance on BTS, especially considering the K-pop superstars are on hiatus (due to military commitments) until 2025. Could Quality Control be the firm’s golden ticket to growing significant market share in a different world of music?

Also reported this week: Deezer, the Paris-headquartered streaming platform, announced its 2022 FY results. Annual revenue was up 10.6% YoY to EUR €451 million, while operating losses stood at €167 million.

Deezer had more big news, too: Former Warner exec, Stu Bergen, has joined the company’s Board as a Director, succeeding Amanda Cameron (aka: Amanda Ghost), who has stepped down from her responsibilities with the company.

Meanwhile, in the past few days, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on a bill that TikTok really didn’t like, as Lyric Capital, parent company of Spirit Music Group, raised $800 million in a mix of funding and senior debt. It’s going to buy copyrights with the cash.

Here’s a taste of what happened on MBW this week…


Photo: MBW

1) UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP GENERATED MORE THAN $1BN PER QUARTER, ON AVERAGE, FROM RECORDED MUSIC SUBSCRIPTION IN 2022

Zooming out and looking at UMG’s holistic business – across recorded music, music publishing, merch, and related activity – Universal posted full-year revenues of €10.34 billion ($10.87bn) for 2022, up by an impressive 13.6% YoY at constant currency.

In Q4 2022, these overall revenues grew by 8.8% YoY, to €2.942 billion.


Credit: UPI/Alamy

2) SCOOTER BRAUN AND HYBE WANT TO BUILD A ‘MAJOR’. HOW DOES THEIR $300M BET ON QUALITY CONTROL FIT INTO THAT AIM?

The most important post-BTS strategy for HYBE?

A “multi-label structure” which, it says, will “continue to create music and establish artists that can resonate with our fans”.

Last year, the company said it was “looking to M&As and establishing joint ventures so that we may expand on our multi-label structure both in and outside of Korea”.

Added HYBE: “We are looking to [merge with/acquire] various labels, management [firms] and any other companies that pursue businesses related to musical intellectual property.”

Enter Quality Control.


3) LYRIC CAPITAL RAISES $800M TO BUY MUSIC RIGHTS

New York-based private equity firm Lyric Capital Group, parent company of Spirit Music Group, has successfully closed its second fund, with total commitments of approximately $410 million.

In addition, the firm also raised senior debt financing to bring Lyric’s new deployable capital to over $800 million.

Lyric says that it exceeded its funding target, with “support from a diverse group of new and existing institutional investors”.


4) DEEZER GENERATED OVER $470M IN 2022, WITH AN OPERATING LOSS OF $175M. IT JUST NAMED STU BERGEN AS A DIRECTOR ON ITS BOARD.

Paris-listed streaming company Deezer has a new Director on its Board: former Warner Music Group executive, Stu Bergen. The appointment is effective immediately.

Bergen was formerly the long-time CEO of Warner’s International Recorded Music operations outside the US and UK. After 14 years at Warner, he left the major music company in January 2021.

There is a long-running link between Deezer and WMG, of course: Warner Music Group’s controlling shareholder, Access Industries, is also a shareholder in the music streaming firm.


5) House panel approves bill that could lead to total TikTok ban in the US

Another day, another political hurdle for ByteDance-owned app TikTok.

On Wednesday (March 1) the US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance a bill that would effectively give President Joe Biden powers to ban TikTok in the US.

“A U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide,” said a TikTok spokesperson.

“We’re disappointed to see this rushed piece of legislation move forward, despite its considerable negative impact on the free speech rights of millions of Americans who use and love TikTok.”


MBW’s Weekly Round-Up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.Music Business Worldwide

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