From Universal’s unrecovered balance program to BMG’s $784 million revenue: This is MBW’s weekly roundup

Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly roundup – where we make sure you’ve caught the five biggest stories that have made headlines over the past seven days. The MBW Roundup is supported by Centtripwhich helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and lower their touring costs.


This week, Universal Music Group launched what it calls a “global goodwill program for select featured artists and songwriters.”

The program will see UMG ignore unrecovered balances on advances for eligible artists and songwriters.

The initiative was revealed in UMG’s Environment and Social Governance (ESG) report, included in its 2021 Annual Report, which was released this week.

Also this week, MBW reported on an article published by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), which published an expose on Swedish indie label Firefly Entertainment.

According to DNFirefly Entertainment is doing a roaring trade in what some would call “fake artists” on Spotify.

Elsewhere, financial figures recently released by BMG parent company Bertelsmann revealed that the music company generated 663 million euros (about $784 million) in annual revenue last year.

This was up 10.1% from BMG’s equivalent figure from 2020.

Also this week, Pophouse Entertainment acquired the Swedish House Mafia’s master recordings and publishing catalogs (including their authors’ shares), while music funding platform beatBread launched a new rights defense board. artists which includes Mike Caren.

Here’s what’s happened in the past seven days…


1) CONFIRMED: UNIVERSAL IGNORES UNRECLAIMED SALES FOR HERITAGE ARTISTS

In February, MBW told you that Universal Music Group planned to introduce a policy that would see unrecovered balances ignored for eligible songwriters and catalog artists in its books.

Senior music industry sources told us at the time that this policy would be publicly confirmed by UMG in the coming months.

Yesterday (March 31), UMG did just that…


2) DO YOU REMEMBER THE SPOTIFY FAKE ARTISTS? THEY ALWAYS GO STRONG – AND ALWAYS ATTRACTING A SCANDAL.

Swedish company Firefly Entertainment must be one of the most successful young independent record labels in the world.

The label, headquartered in Karlstad, Sweden, generates more than 65 million SEK – or about $7 million at the annual exchange rate – per year, according to its latest annual results, published in 2020.

That’s ten times what Firefly was generating three years earlier.

These stats come from Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), which just published an expose on how Firefly makes at least some of that money. It’s a story that will be very familiar to long-time MBW readers…


3) BMG’S ANNUAL REVENUES INCREASED 10.1% TO $784M IN 2021

BMG made over three-quarters of a billion dollars in 2021.

According to recently released financial figures from BMG’s parent company, Bertelsmann, the music company generated 663 million euros (about $784 million) in annual revenue last year. This was up 10.1% from BMG’s equivalent figure from 2020.

BMG’s primary earnings measure, operating EBITDA, rose 5.4% year-on-year in 2021 to €144 million ($170 million).

(MBW used the 2021 IRS average annual exchange rates for the EUR-USD calculations above.).


4) SWEDISH MAFIA HOUSE SELLS MASTER RECORDS AND EDITION CATALOGS TO POPHOUSE

In February, we told you that Pophouse, the Swedish entertainment company run by former Universal Music Sweden boss Per Sundin, was planning to invest in music rights.

This week, the company announced its entry into the rights acquisition space by acquiring the full master recordings and releasing the catalogs of electronic music stars Swedish House Mafia (including their copyright shares).

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, also includes the full masters and publishing acquisition of Axwell^Ingrosso…


5) AFTER RAISING $34M, MUSIC FUNDING PLATFORM BEATBREAD APPOINTS ADVOCACY COUNCIL, INCLUDING MIKE CAREN AND MORE

Music funding platform beatBread has launched a new Artist Defense Council.

Founding members include Mike Caren (Artist Partner Group) and Dave Dederer (label owner and founding member of The Presidents of the United States of America).

The Advocacy Council’s launch follows beatBread’s $34 million fundraising in February, led by Fintech-focused venture capital firm Deciens Capital…


MBW’s Weekly Roundup is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize revenue and lower touring costs.The music industry around the world

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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