Believe muscles in on the majors, with landmark performance on French album chart in 2021

Superstar rapper Jul is one of the biggest streaming artists in France

2021 was a landmark year for Paris-headquartered Believe.

The company famously floated on the Paris Euronext last summer, where it currently commands a market cap valuation of over USD $1.7 billion.

2021 was also the year in which Believe announced its intention to spend EUR €100 million a year on acquiring music companies in various fast-growing international territories – a strategy that has recently seen it buy stakes in labels in the Philippines and India, amongst other markets.

But what shouldn’t be discounted in the story of Believe’s memorable 2021 is its performance in its home market of France, where the company says it recorded a historic market share achievement.

According to Believe’s calculations based on Top 200 annual chart data from market monitor SNEP (via the Official Charts company), Believe finished 2021 as France’s No.2 biggest company in terms of annual distribution market share of frontline domestic artist albums.

There are a few key caveats / reiterations behind this claim:

  • Believe’s calculation is based only on total sales-equivalent volume contained in SNEP’s Top 200 annual albums chart, whose data was provided by the Official Charts Company. This chart only contains albums released in the prior three years (i.e. not deep catalog records);
  • When MBW says “Believe finished 2021 as France’s No.2…”, we mean just that: To achieve that No.2 market share position, Believe includes its distribution of two labels (Jo&Co and Play2) with whom it signed distribution agreements late last year. Its calculations also include its distribution of other partner labels such as 6&7 and Tôt ou tard;
  • This is for domestic French artists only, and doesn’t include international repertoire.

Believe says that, on this basis, it achieved the No.2 distribution market position in France for 2021 – behind only Universal Music Group – on both the streaming and the all-formats Top 200 album chart.

Believe also calculates it had France’s biggest-selling act of the year, Jul. (That’s according to estimated total sales based on SNEP’s 2021 Top 200 Albums chart, combining streaming, physical, and downloads.)

In addition, Believe distributed France’s most-streamed single and the No.1 music video of the year on YouTube, with La Kiffance by French rapper Naps.

Some additional important stats:

  • In the Top 200 albums in France last year (domestic and international combined, all formats) Believe-distributed artists claimed 41 positions (a 20.5% chart share);
  • In terms of domestic artists only – stripping out international acts – for the streaming-only albums Top 200, Believe claimed a 28% chart share;
  • Domestic artists made up 86% of France’s Top 200 streaming chart for 2021, claiming 168 positions.

In a statement to media, Believe said: “This performance underscores the importance and the impact of Believe’s strategy, which is based around local acts, its unique development know-how in the digital world and its ability to attract and develop artists at the highest level.

“It also illustrates Believe’s ability to become a leader in one of the world’s largest markets with a model that combined organic growth with strategic partnerships.”

Romain Vivien, General Manager of Believe France, said of the results: “Our collaborations with top artists like Jul, Naps and DjaDja & Dinaz show that the new generation of artists embrace our digital-first model, as well as endorse our values of independence and transparency.

“These artists have renewed their faith in us for many years, while entrusting us with our broadening remit, including branding, merchandising and live.

“The new generation of artists embrace our digital-first model, as well as endorse our values of independence and transparency.”

Romain Vivien, Believe

“It is also a point of enormous pride for our teams to see artists such as Landy and ZKR – who started out on our automated solutions platform TuneCore and were then developed alongside our partners DJ Bellek from Morning Glory and 109 Records – rise high in the Top 200.

“This illustrates their unrivalled expertise in developing artists in a digital world, as well as the relevance and flexibility of our solutions to meet their expectations.”

Added Vivien: “The alliance of our digital expertise alongside the artistic support of labels such as 6&7 (Jérémie Frérot, Kimberose, Zazie) and Tôt ou Tard (Vianney, Shaka Ponk, Cats on Trees, Noé Preszow) allows artists of all genres to develop their audience in an increasingly digital world.”

According to IFPI data, France was the world’s fifth biggest recorded music market in 2020, generating just over USD $1 billion in annual industry turnover.Music Business Worldwide