MBW’s Stat Of The Week is a series in which we highlight a data point that deserves the attention of the global music industry. Stat Of the Week is supported by Cinq Music Group, a technology-driven record label, distribution, and rights management company.
Last summer, Music Business Worldwide revealed that Queen’s music copyrights were still making major money, despite the band having last released a new studio album (with Freddie Mercury) back in the mid-nineties.
We spotted a fiscal filing published by Queen Productions Ltd, a UK-based company that files its annual accounts for each fiscal year to the end of September.
That filing revealed that Queen Productions Ltd. – which reflects the band’s revenues generated by music copyrights – generated GBP £41.67 million (USD $53.5m) from royalties in FY 2020 (the 12 months to end of September that year).
(Queen Productions Ltd. is owned by the band’s surviving original members, plus the Freddie Mercury estate; the group’s touring income flows into a subsidiary.)
In FY 2020, Queen’s annual copyright royalties were still being boosted by the long-tail success of Bohemian Rhapsody, the Oscar-winning movie, which was released globally in October 2018.
How long could the halo effect from that movie last?
Well, it still seems to be lasting: Queen Productions Ltd generated £38.92 million ($53.5m) from royalties in its last fiscal year (the 12 months to end of September 2021, aka FY 2021), according to newly-published UK annual accounts analyzed by MBW.
That figure was down by just 6.6% year-on-year. (In terms of USD constant currency, it was flat at $53.5m, per annual exchange rates from the IRS.)
Not bad when you consider that Queen’s own previous annual accounts warned: “It is anticipated there will be further income from the [Bohemian Rhapsody] film in the year ended 30 September 2021… although that is expected to decrease year-on-year.”
However much credit you give Bohemian Rhapsody for fuelling Queen’s financial surge in the past three years, the group’s modern-day popularity remains impressive.
Queen currently sits at No.44 on Spotify‘s list of its most-listened-to artists globally, with 40.3 million monthly listeners.
Queen has, however, in recent weeks been overtaken by one of their contemporaries: Kate Bush – following the global boost her Running Up That Hill received from a Stranger Things sync – is now at No.34 on Spotify’s global monthly listeners’ chart, with 44.5 million of them.
(Queen also missed out on the IFPI‘s list of the Top 10 biggest revenue-generating recording acts around the world in 2021 and in 2020 – having made the rankings in both 2018 and 2019.)
Still, when you look further back at the income of Queen Productions Ltd, the stunning recent jump in the band’s revenues – and the impressive maintenance of its popularity – becomes apparent.
Back in FY 2016, for example, Queen’s copyrights company generated just GBP £12.34 million in total.
That’s less than a third of the figure that Queen Productions Ltd generated in FY 2021 (£39.19m).
This all obviously raises interesting questions around the value of Queen’s catalog, and whether it could one day (especially if recorded music and publishing are combined) surpass the hallowed figure of USD $1 billion.
Adding to the possibility: Pink Floyd’s recorded music catalog (plus neighbouring rights and name & likeness rights) is currently understood to be attracting bids of upwards of $500 million from major record companies.
Queen’s recorded music catalog is currently owned by the band outside of North America (where it’s owned by Disney Music Group). Ex-North America, Queen Productions Ltd licenses that catalog to Universal Music Group as its distributor and record company partner.
According to Queen Production Ltd’s FY 2021 annual results, the company paid £11.53 million ($15.9m) on Cost Of Sales in the year.
The company also paid a further £10.84 million ($14.9m) in “administrative expenses”.
As a result of those deductions, Queen Productions Ltd. ended FY 2021 with £16.84 million ($23.2m) in pre-tax profit, a profit margin of 43%.
Queen Productions Ltd.’s owners withdrew a £17.07 million ($23.5m) dividend in the fiscal year, following on from a dividend of £20.17 million ($25.9m) in FY 2020.
The company that owns Queen’s music publishing rights in the UK is Queen Music Ltd.
According to filings, it paid £23.04 million in FY 2021 to ‘entities under the control of the directors and shareholders’ – likely to be a reference to Queen Productions Ltd.
Cinq Music Group’s repertoire has won Grammy awards, dozens of Gold and Platinum RIAA certifications, and numerous No.1 chart positions on a variety of Billboard charts. Its repertoire includes heavyweights such as Bad Bunny, Janet Jackson, Daddy Yankee, T.I., Sean Kingston, Anuel, and hundreds more.Music Business Worldwide