From UMG’s unrecouped balance program to BMG’s $784m revenues: It’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up

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 Centtripwhich helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.


This week, Universal Music Group launched what it calls a “worldwide goodwill program for certain legacy featured recording artists and songwriters”.

The program will see UMG disregard unrecouped balances on advances for eligible artists and songwriters.

The initiative was revealed within UMG’s Environment Social Governance (ESG) report, included in its Annual Report 2021, which was published this week.

Also this week, MBW reported on a story published by Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter (DN), which has run an exposé on Swedish indie label Firefly Entertainment.

According to DNFirefly Entertainment is doing a roaring trade in what some would call “fake artists” on Spotify.

Elsewhere, newly-published financial figures from BMG parent Bertelsmann, revealed that the music company generated €663m (approx. $784m) in annual revenues last year.

That was up 10.1% on BMG’s equivalent figure from 2020.

Also this week, Pophouse Entertainment acquired the master recordings and publishing catalogs of Swedish House Mafia (including their writer’s shares), while music funding platform beatBread launched a new Artists Advocacy Council that includes Mike Caren

Here’s what happened over the past seven days…


1) CONFIRMED: UNIVERSAL IS DISREGARDING UNRECOUPED BALANCES FOR HERITAGE ARTISTS

In February, MBW told you that Universal Music Group was planning to introduce a policy that would see unrecouped balances disregarded for eligible catalog songwriters and artists on its books.

We were told at the time by senior sources in the music industry that this policy would be publicly confirmed by UMG in the coming months.

Yesterday (March 31), UMG did just that…


2) REMEMBER SPOTIFY’S FAKE ARTISTS? THEY’RE STILL GOING STRONG – AND STILL ATTRACTING SCANDAL.

Sweden’s Firefly Entertainment must be one of the most successful young independent record companies in the world.

The label, headquartered in Karlstad, Sweden, is generating over 65 million SEK – or around $7 million at annual exchange rates – per year, according to its latest annual results, published in 2020.

That’s ten times more than what Firefly was originated three years earlier.

These stats come from Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter (DN), which has just run an exposé on how Firefly makes at least some of this money. It’s a story that will be very familiar to long-time MBW readers…


3) BMG’S ANNUAL REVENUES GREW 10.1% TO $784M IN 2021

BMG turned over more than three quarters of a billion dollars in 2021.

According to newly-published financial figures from BMG parent Bertelsmann, the music company generated €663m (approx. $784m) in annual revenues last year. That was up 10.1% on BMG’s equivalent figure from 2020.

BMG’s key profit measure, operating EBITDA, increased by 5.4% YoY in 2021 to €144m ($170m).

(MBW has used the IRS’s average annual exchange rates for 2021 for the above EUR-USD calculations.)..


4) SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA SELL MASTER RECORDINGS AND PUBLISHING CATALOGS TO POPHOUSE

In February, we told you that Pophouse, the Swedish entertainment company led by former Universal Music Sweden boss Per Sundin, was planning to invest in music rights.

This week, the company announced its entrance into the rights acquisition space by fully acquiring the master recordings and publishing catalogs of electronic music stars Swedish House Mafia (including their writer’s shares).

The agreement, for an undisclosed sum, also includes the full acquisition of the masters and publishing of Axwell^Ingrosso…


5) AFTER RAISING $34M, MUSIC FUNDING PLATFORM BEATBREAD NAMES ADVOCACY COUNCIL INCLUDING MIKE CAREN AND MORE

Music funding platform beatBread has launched a new Artists Advocacy Council.

Among the founding members are Mike Caren (Artist Partner Group) and Dave Dederer (Label owner and founding member of The Presidents of the United States of America).

The launch of the Advocacy Council follows beatBread’s $34 million seed round in February led by Fintech-focused venture capital firm, Deciens Capital…


MBW’s Weekly Round-Up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.Music Business Worldwide

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