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.
Anyone following MBW’s coverage of the global music business over the past 12 months will surely have noticed something:
Barely a week now goes by without attention-grabbing news about either a major music rights deal, or a new, deep pocketed player entering the music rights acquisition space.
This week brought news of both.
Today (January 14), we learned that investment giant Pimco has struck an alliance with BMG to jointly buy music copyrights, and the significance of the firm entering the fray is immense.
That’s because Pimco has a portfolio of assets worth $2.21 TRILLION, more than investment giants KKR (around $234 billion), Apollo Global Management (around $455 billion) and Blackstone (around $649 billion) combined.
We also learned this week that the acquisitive Primary Wave Music Publishing has spent a collective $60 million on stakes in the catalogs of Paul Rodgers, and Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America.
According to the Wall Street Journal, both deals, valued at $20 million and $40 million respectively, took place at the end of 2021 – a year in which MBW estimates, as reported on Monday (January 10), that at least $5 billion was spent on music rights acquisitions.
In addition, as per the WSJ, Primary Wave, which itself has over $1 billion to spend on music rights, “is gearing up to spend $500 million to $600 million” this year.
Elsewhere this week, Warner Music Group acquired prominent African music distributor Africori, while Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge sent a memo to UMG’s workforce to mark the new year.
Here’s what happened over the past seven days…
The music rights market was on fire in 2021.
MBW estimates – based on confirmed prices and information from industry sources – that at least $5.05 billion was spent on catalog and music rights acquisitions across the 60-plus big-money deals we reported on during last year.
That figure includes deals for individual catalogs sold by artists and songwriters, plus acquisitions of music rights portfolios (including those owned by active labels/publishers) by companies from other companies…
Towards the end of last year, MBW ran the now-infamous headline: Here Come The Giants.
It was in reference to three heavy hitters from the investment community – Blackstone, Apollo Global Management, and KKR – deciding to cumulatively funnel billions of dollars into music rights acquisition.
Today (January 14), we learn that another towering name from the finance world – Pimco – is also entering the fray.
The Financial Times reports that Pimco has struck an alliance with BMG to jointly acquire song copyrights….
Warner Music Group (WMG) has acquired a majority stake in Africori, a prominent African music distribution, music rights management and artist development company.
With offices in Johannesburg, London and Lagos, Africori currently services 7,000 artists and 850 clients and reports that in 2021, its artists generated hundreds of millions of audio streams and billions of YouTube views. The company also reports to have recorded strong revenue growth across all major DSPs.
WMG says that Africori will continue to operate as an independent company, with current CEO, Yoel Kenan, remaining in his post….
Primary Wave Music has recently struck two new catalog deals for a combined $60 million.
Firstly, the firm has spent $20 million on a stake in Paul Rodgers’ music publishing catalog for Free and Bad Company, as well as his master recording income streams for both bands.
Secondly, Primary Wave has acquired Gerry Beckley’s and Dewey Bunnell’s rights in the America music catalog, in a deal worth $40 million.
The value of both acquisitions were reported by the Wall Street Journal, which, citing people close to the deals, states that both took place in 2021.
The WSJ also reports that Primary Wave, which has over $1 billion to spend on music rights, “is gearing up to spend $500 million to $600 million” this year…..
Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge sent a wide-ranging memo to his company’s staff this week to mark the new year.
Within the note, obtained by MBW, Grainge commends and thanks UMG’s global workforce for their “determination and commitment” in 2021, and for what the company achieved last year in spite of the challenges presented by the pandemic.
Indeed, Grainge writes that, for UMG’s business, 2021 was “in a word, phenomenal”… (MBW)