Believe, formerly Believe Digital, is a Paris-headquartered distribution company, in addition being an artist and label services operation, plus the owner of in-house record labels.
The firm was founded by ex-Vivendi executive Denis Ladegaillerie in 2005, with Ladegaillerie continuing to lead Believe as its CEO today.
Ladegaillerie’s co-founders of Believe were Arnaud Chiaramonti and Nicolas Laclias.
Acquisitions and investment
In April 2015, Believe announced it had fully acquired DIY distribution platform TuneCore, which is headquartered in New York. That deal is understood to have cost Believe in the region of $40 million.
In June 2015, TCV – an investor in Spotify – announced it had led a $60m investment into Believe.
In August 2016, Believe acquired French label group Naive, for around €11 million ($12 million).
In September 2018, Believe acquired another French indie label, Tôt ou tard, from owner Wagram Music, for a seven-figure sum.
At the time, Denis Ladegaillerie told MBW: “We’ve known Tôt ou tard’s founder, Vincent [Frerebeau] for many years. He’s one of the leading independent figures in France when it comes to developing artists successfully, which he’s done with a lot of top French [acts].
“We strongly believe that the model Vincent has successfully built – which combines the highest level of personal commitment with a unique know-how and a close proximity with artists – is the right model when it comes to artist development. It is the model we’ve deployed ourselves in a number of countries.”
Believe then acquired a majority stake in Germany-headquartered rock and metal label, Nuclear Blast, in October 2018, for an eight-figure fee.
In the same month, it fully acquired one of Germany’s biggest independent distributors, Groove Attack, for an undisclosed sum.
Financials & prospective IPO
Denis Ladegaillerie confirmed to Music Business Worldwide that, in calendar year 2019, Believe realized digital revenues of around $700m, with growth of 40% year-on-year. It employed over 1,200 staff in the year.
In November 2020, a report from Reuters suggested that Believe was preparing an IPO in 2021 that will value it at around €2bn ($2.4bn).
Reuters reported that Believe was working with Rothschild & Co on its planned €2bn IPO, which could take place in New York or Paris.
The story quotes a source relaying that an IPO would allow Believe’s “fast-growing, profitable” operation “to raise funds to accelerate its expansion plans”.Music Business Worldwide