Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly roundup – where we make sure you’ve caught the five biggest stories that have made headlines over the past seven days. The MBW Roundup is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and lower their touring costs.
Are we months away from the first billion-dollar music catalog deal?
Last week, MBW announced that Queen’s catalog could sell for over $1 billion this year.
Our sources tell us that the first stages of a process to sell the group’s catalog are underway and that a full acquisition could be finalized by the end of the summer.
Also this week, South Korean entertainment giant HYBE is reportedly looking to raise about 500 billion Korean won (about $380 million) to fund acquisitions in the United States.
The news was first reported by Bloombergwhich, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that HYBE, the music company behind K-pop superstars BTS and rising stars New Jeans, “is in talks with investors to secure equity financing.”
Meanwhile Cutting Edge Media Music, a major buyer of film and television music rights, entered the world of pop music this week, securing a deal with pop songwriter and producer Jamie Hartman. MBW understands that the deal has swung into the eight-figure realm.
Additionally, MBW grilled TikTok global music boss Ole Obermann, while Ezekiel Lewis was promoted to president of Epic Records.
Here’s what happened this week…
1) THE QUEEN MUSIC CATALOG COULD SELL THIS YEAR FOR MORE THAN $1 BILLION, SAYS MBW SOURCES
Two years ago, MBW published a popular story with a catchy title: “Queen’s music makes crazy money. Could it be worth over a billion dollars?
The answer to the question, which we are now hearing from several high-level music industry sources, is a resounding yes.
We’re told the early stages of a process to sell the band’s catalog – combining both music publishing and recorded music rights – are underway, and a full acquisition could be finalized by end of this summer.
Major music companies including Universal Music Group are in discussions for a possible acquisition, we are told, in addition to players in the world of private equity….
2) HYBE RAISES $380M TO FUND MORE US MUSIC ACQUISITIONS (REPORT)
HYBE, the music company behind K-pop superstars BTS and rising stars New Jeans, is looking to raise about 500 billion Korean won (about $380 million) to fund acquisitions in the United States.
It depends Bloombergwhich, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that the South Korean entertainment giant “is in talks with investors to secure equity financing.”
The report adds, quoting these same people, that HYBE “is open to having both strategic and financial partners…”
3) TIKTOK IS UNDER FIRE FROM SOME OF MUSIC’S MOST POWERFUL PLAYERS. HIS GLOBAL MUSIC HEAD SAYS THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT – AND ANSWERS SOME TOUGH QUESTIONS.
“Some of the short video providers are relatively new…it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that we are being underpaid by (them)” – Rob Stringer, President of Sony Music Group.
“As for where we are today…we will work hard to improve the economic situation for our artists and labels in the future” – Michael Nash, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Universal Music Group.
” I have already seen this movie. I know the end” – Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO and Chairman, Universal Music Group.
The untrained eye might not notice that these recent comments from top music company executives (and others like them) are specifically laser-targeted at TikTok.
TikTok isn’t even mentioned directly in any of them. But those who know, know.
Ole Obermann is someone who understands precisely what these music leaders are saying without saying it.
Obermann spent 13 years at major record labels – a decade at Sony Music/BMG then three years at Warner Music Group – before joining ByteDance in 2019.
Today, he is primarily responsible for TikTok’s licensing relationship with music rights holders, large (major labels) and small (independent artists).
Before sitting down with MBW for this interview, Obermann is warned that we’ll be asking him a number of tough questions – most of them informed by grunts over drinks we heard on Record Label Land.
He is relaxed at this idea. Sure enough, he smiles as the heat rises during our interrogation – even laughing at the occasions when we spray a few molecules of hyperbole in the proceedings.
For Obermann, this Q&A isn’t just a chance to put the music industry on the right track (as he sees it) of misplaced rebukes over the size of checks TikTok pays to labels and publishers. It’s also an opportunity to amplify his view that TikTok will create lucrative new areas of business for music rights holders – worth billions of dollars cumulatively – via “synchronized” licensing for music rights holders. brand ads on TikTok, and via real-time e-commerce…
4) CUTTING EDGE SIGNS EIGHT-DIGIT DEAL WITH POP WRITER AND PRODUCER JAMIE HARTMAN
Cutting Edge Media Music enters the world of pop music by signing a deal with eminent songwriter and producer Jamie Hartman, who has written or co-written numerous hits for artists such as Lewis Capaldi, Celeste, Calvin Harris , Rag’n’Bone Man and the Backstreet Boys, among many others.
CEMM says it will “buy the majority of the royalties from Hartman’s back catalog,” released as part of its deal with Reservoir Media, which includes hundreds of songs he wrote and collaborated on with artists such as as Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Calvin Harris, Kygo and Lewis Capaldi. as well as songs for commercials, television and films written with artists such as Carole King, Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera.
MBW understands that CEMM bought the majority of Hartman’s writers’ share. Hartman continues to be published by Reservoir…
5) EZEKIEL LEWIS PROMOTED PRESIDENT OF EPIC RECORDS
Ezekiel Lewis has been promoted to president of Epic Records.
He will continue to report to Sylvia Rhone, President and CEO of Epic Records, and lead the A&R division while helping to manage the day-to-day operations of the Sony Music-owned label.
Lewis has served as executive vice president and head of A&R for the company since 2020….