London-based Beggars Group, one of the biggest independent record companies in the world, posted revenues of £70.6m ($96m) in 2016, with a net profit of £11.9m ($16m).
Both figures were slightly down on 2015, but represented another impressive 12 months for Martin Mills’ company – which was boosted by the first full-year performance from Adele’s record-breaking 25.
The album, originally released in November 2015, is signed to XL/Beggars across the world outside the US and South America.
In 2015, Beggars Group – whose family of labels includes 4AD, Rough Trade, XL and Matador – posted revenues of £72.9m with a net profit of £12.9m. (These figures have been restated by the company.)
Last year, according to freshly-issued UK accounts, Beggars recorded a gross profit of £19.6m ($27m), up on 2015’s £17.4m.
Its total operating profit in 2016 stood at £12.5m ($18m), with an interim dividend of £10m paid out to shareholders.
Beggars Group’s 2016 turnover discounting its joint ventures and associates stood at £33.2m.
(The company owns 50% stakes in labels such as XL Recordings, Rough Trade and Matador, and is an investor in firms such as Rough Trade Retail and Ink Management.)
Beggars released 39 albums last year, compared to 48 in 2015. It employed 112 people in 2016, up on 2015’s headcount of 104.
Its wages and salaries bill last year weighed in at £7.8m, up on the £6.9m spent in the prior 12 months.
“The huge increase in music consumption has been driven by streaming services and the audience these services can capture. However, this has also highlighted the growing discrepancy (‘the value gap’) between the levels of remuneration returned to rights holders via ad-supported user-generated services versus premium subscription paying services.”
Beggars Group 2016 accounts
Aside from Adele, other top album performers for Beggars last year included Not To Disappear by Daughter (pictured) on 4AD, Anohni’s Hopelessness on Rough Trade, Savages’ Adore Life on Matador and Sampha’s Blood On Me on Young Turks.
The company also acquired the Radiohead catalogue in 2016 – a year in which the band released A Moon Shaped Pool.
Beggars notes in its 2016 accounts: “During 2016 Beggars Group experienced a further shift to streaming. But the drop on in physical formats has slowed thanks to the resurgent demand for vinyl. We remain committed to promoting group artists through whichever channels music fans choose to listen.”
Beggars boss Martin Mills has been a vocal critic of ‘safe harbor’ legislation which protects services such as YouTube from legal repercussions when copyright infringement takes place on their platforms.
The Beggars accounts add: “The huge increase in music consumption has been driven by streaming services and the audience these services can capture. However, this has also highlighted the growing discrepancy (‘the value gap’) between the levels of remuneration returned to rights holders via ad-supported user-generated services versus premium subscription paying services.
“The European Commission have indicated that that they are preparing to deal with growing concern over rights holders‘ ability to negotiate fair remuneration and the problems this poses for legitimate premium services.
“The issues outlined above may impact on the long-term business model and underlying proﬁtability, in parting the uncertainty of the effectiveness of European regulatory inﬂuence over powerful US technology companies.
“However, we continue to work hard on behalf or our artists to ensure that the Independent sector is heard and represented.”