MBW’s Weekly Roundup: SoundCloud, 0207 Def Jam, China, Big Hit, Simon Robson

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, SoundCloud confirmed to MBW that it achieved its first ever profitable quarter on an EBITDA basis in Q3 this year, while fresh company filings reveal that the firm posted €147.6m ($165.7m) in revenues in calendar 2019, up 37% year-over-year.

Elsewhere, Ghanaian London-born twin brothers, Alec and Alex Boateng, were officially unveiled as co-Presidents of a newly-launched frontline Universal Music UK label: 0207 Def Jam.

Meanwhile, MBW reported that Tencent Music Entertainment has seen “triple-digit year-over-year growth” in the number of indie artists on its platforms; its rival, Netease Cloud Music, saw total Chinese indie artists on its service double to 200,000 in the 12 months to October 2020.

Plus, Big Hit Entertainment is expanding access to its fan community app Weverse to US artists for the first time, while Simon Robson has been named President, International, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group.


1. Alec and Alex Boateng named Co-Presidents of new 0207 Def Jam label at Universal Music UK

Def Jam is twinning.

Ghanaian London-born twin brothers, Alec and Alex Boateng, have officially been unveiled as co-Presidents of a newly-launched frontline Universal Music UK label: 0207 Def Jam.

Alec Boateng joins 0207 Def Jam after seven years at Warner Music, most recently as Co-Head of A&R for Atlantic Records UK, where he worked closely with acts including Jess Glynne, Burna Boy and Rita Ora, as well as Stormzy, with whom he shares a trusted creative relationship going back many years.

Alex Boateng has spent the past decade at Universal Music UK, most recently as President of Island Records’ first Urban Division, which is largely focused on the emergence of British Black music.

Since taking up the role in 2018, he has overseen UK campaigns for Drake, Tiwa Savage, Buju Banton, Nav, Giggs, Unknown T, Ray BLK, M Huncho, Tekno and Miraa May.

Acting as the UK home of Def Jam Recordings, 0207 Def Jam launches in partnership with the legendary New York-based Def Jam label, which is also part of Universal Music Group… (MBW)


2. SoundCloud’s revenues jumped 37% to $166m in 2019 – and it’s just posted its first ever profitable quarter

SoundCloud has confirmed to MBW that it achieved its first ever profitable quarter on an EBITDA basis in Q3 this year.

The news comes as fresh company filings reveal that SoundCloud posted €147.6m ($165.7m) in revenues in calendar 2019, up 37% year-over-year.

That represented significantly faster growth than the prior year: in 2018, SoundCloud posted a YoY revenue increase of 19%.

SoundCloud’s 2019 revenue growth accelerated as the year went on: the firm says its quarterly revenues were up 17% YoY in Q1; in Q4, they were up by 43% YoY.

Meanwhile, SoundCloud’s annual operating losses in 2019 narrowed significantly, down 28% to €23.8m ($26.7m) from €32.9m in 2018…


Credit: Chuttersnap
3) The independent artist market is exploding in China – with NetEase and Tencent battling to woo the best indie acts

China is becoming a particularly interesting hotspot for the DIY artist market – with the territory’s two biggest streaming platform operators, Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) and NetEase Cloud Music, duking it out for supremacy.

Back in July, Tencent Music revealed that it had paid 590 million yuan (over $84m) to date to indie artists using its ‘Tencent Musician’ program.

Launched three years ago, Tencent Musician enables independent artists to upload their music to TME platforms, as well as offering them services such as music publishing, marketing, copyright management and professional training.

Last Tuesday (November 10), Tencent Music’s CEO, Cussion Pang, revealed just how beneficial these indie artists are becoming to Tencent’s platforms…


4) Big Hit’s Weverse app has been key to its $400m pandemic success. Now it’s expanding the tech to Universal Music Group artists.

On Wednesday (November 25) Big Hit Entertainment has revealed it is expanding access to its fan community app Weverse to US artists for the first time, as Weverse looks to “establish itself as a global platform designed for an all-encompassing global fan experience”.

It has already launched a new Weverse fan community for singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams, who is signed to Interscope Geffen A&M.

According to a press statement, Weverse will also launch communities for Abrams’ label mates Alexander 23 and YUNGBLUD later this year, as well as additional global recording artists from Interscope parent, Universal Music Group.

Just like the Weverse fan communities operated by Big Hit for K-pop artists like BTS, SEVENTEEN and TOMORROW X TOGETHER, the UMG artists’ Weverse communities will provide access to their music, music videos, and live performance videos…


5) Simon Robson named President, International, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group

Simon Robson has been named President, International, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group, taking up a central leadership role at the company.

Overseeing WMG’s recorded music operations outside the US and UK, he will be based in London and report to Max Lousada, Global CEO of Recorded Music, Warner Music Group.

In his new role, Robson will also work closely with Eric Wong, WMG’s President and Chief Marketing Officer, Recorded Music, and with Maria Weaver, the recently appointed President of WEA.

British exec Robson has been with Warner for over two decades, most recently served as President of Warner Music Asia since 2015, based in Hong Kong… (MBW)


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

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