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.
This week, Sony Corporation of America announced a new subsidiary called Sony Immersive Music Studios, which is focused on “developing immersive music experiences through the power of creativity and technology”…
Elsewhere, speaking of acquisitions, Hipgnosis Songs Fund landed yet another major-league music asset, buying up 100% of the music publishing rights – including both publisher and writer’s share – to Shakira’s entire catalog.
Plus, RCA Records has made major changes to its leadership structure in the US, with Mark Pitts promoted to the role of President of RCA, and John Fleckenstein upped from his current role as co-President to Chief Operating Officer.
Also, five highly regarded independent music executives including, Glen Barros, Dave Hansen, Charles Caldas, Amy Dietz and John Burk have come together to form a new venture called Exceleration Music.
1. Sony takes wraps off secret Unreal Engine project, unveils new subsidiary: Sony Immersive Music Studios
In May last year, MBW discovered that Sony Music was building a team “dedicated to reimagining music through immersive media”. Said team would be using Unreal Engine, the games engine from Fortnite maker Epic Games, in which Sony Corporation acquired a minority stake last July, making a strategic investment of $250 million.
Apart from a few hints within job ads, details about what the new recruits would be working on – and what division within the wider Sony corporate umbrella they would be working with – were under wraps. Not anymore.
Today (January 12), Sony Corporation of America has announced a new subsidiary called Sony Immersive Music Studios, which is focused on “developing immersive music experiences through the power of creativity and technology”.
2. BMG buys Mick Fleetwood’s royalties for an array of Fleetwood Mac hits – including TikTok sensation Dreams
Once upon a time – from around 2008 to around 2015 – BMG was arguably the most acquisitive company in the music rights space.
That’s all changed in recent years, with BMG largely retreating from an M&A marketplace that has seen heavily-funded entrants such Hipgnosis Songs Fund, Round Hill, and Primary Wave keep on raising big money… and keep on spending it.
Indeed, MBW understands that it’s been nearly three years since BMG made a large-scale full acquisition in music rights. Instead, the company has switched its focus to organic growth, with positive results: after years of consecutive double-digit increases, BMG half-year revenues rose again to $308m in the first six months of the pandemic-hit 2020.
Today, though, BMG has announced its return to the acquisition table – and shown the music industry that it still has the resources to make serious music buyouts now and again.
Hipgnosis Songs Fund has landed yet another major-league music asset.
Today (January 13), the UK-listed company has confirmed that it has acquired 100% of the music publishing rights – including both publisher and writer’s share – to Shakira’s entire catalog.
That catalog comprises 145 songs, which between them have made Shakira the bestselling female Latin artist of all time.
In total, Shakira has sold over 80 million records to date, winning three Grammys and 12 Latin Grammys, in addition to a host of other awards.
New York-headquartered RCA Records, one of Sony Music’s biggest frontline label groups, has made major changes to its leadership structure in the US.
Mark Pitts has been promoted to the role of President of RCA, with John Fleckenstein upped from his current role as co-President to Chief Operating Officer.
Both execs will continue to report to Peter Edge, Chairman & CEO, RCA Records.
Joe Riccitelli, who was named Co-President of RCA in 2018 and has particularly strong connections in radio, will depart the company as a result of the new changes.
5. Meet a new indie powerhouse: Exceleration Music, launched by Glen Barros, Dave Hansen, Charles Caldas, Amy Dietz and John Burk
Five highly regarded independent music executives have come together to form a new venture called Exceleration Music, MBW can reveal.
The new company has developed into a partnership of global music industry leaders, including Dave Hansen (former GM of Epitaph Records and Executive Chairman of Merlin), Charles Caldas (the first CEO of Merlin), Amy Dietz (previous GM of Ingrooves) and John Burk (Grammy-winning producer and former President of Concord Records).
MBW’s weekly round-up is exclusively supported by Centtrip, leading provider of smart treasury, foreign exchange and payment solutions for the music industry. Find out more here. Music Business Worldwide