From US$15 billion revenue to Downtown’s $200 million independent artist fund: This is MBW’s weekly roundup

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. MBW’s Roundup is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize revenue and lower touring costs.

This week, MBW reported that the US recorded music industry grew by $2.85 billion (or 23%) year-over-year in 2021, to generate US$14.99 billion.

That total revenue, which comes from the RIAA’s year-end annual data, marked the largest annual tally in the history of the U.S. recorded music market, but with one caveat.

As RIAA President and CEO Mitch Glazier explained in a new MBW op/ed, “In inflation-adjusted dollars, last year’s figure is 37% lower than it was in 1999”.

Glazier added, “We still have a lot of room to grow – to meet and exceed historical values ​​in music.”

Elsewhere, TikTok announced big news for the music industry this week by announcing the launch of its own music distribution platform, SoundOn.

MBW revealed in September last year that SoundOn had entered beta mode, but the service is now fully operational in the UK, US, Brazil and London.

Artists cited by TikTok as having found success after signing up to SoundOn, so far, include Abby Roberts and Chloe Adams in the UK, and Games We Play and Muni Long in the US.

(The latter artist would be one of the most sought-after signings of 2022 among major record labels in the United States.)

Meanwhile, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued to make headlines this week, with the global music industry’s position on the situation evolving daily.

In recent days, the three major music companies announced that they were suspending their operations in Russia.

Kobalt Music Group and Downtown also confirmed they were suspending business operations in Russia, while Paris-headquartered Believe said it was not considering doing so at this time, but that it ” was monitoring the situation very closely.”

In addition, Spotify stops all monetization – whether from subscriptions or advertisements – in the territory.

Also this week: Downtown created a new $200 million fund to support independent artists and entrepreneurs, while Hipgnosis acquired a stake in all 278 songs and derivatives written by Leonard Cohen…


Here’s the headline, folks: America’s recorded music industry generated US$14.99 billion in 2021, its biggest annual tally in history.

This statistic, revealed today by MBW, comes from the RIAA’s year-end annual data and is up 23% (or $2.85 billion) from the equivalent 2020 figure ($12.14 billion). of dollars).

In fact, one would have to go all the way back to 1999 – more than two decades ago – to find the previous peak year for the US industry, when it generated $14.6 billion.

The 2021 figure also represented significantly larger year-over-year monetary growth for US industry (+$2.85 billion) than that seen in 2020 (+$1.02 billion)…


TikTok is now officially a music distributor.

The viral video app owned by ByteDance has just launched its own music promotion and distribution platform, called SoundOn.

SoundOn is already live in the UK, US, Brazil and Indonesia, and it allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO.

It can also stream their music to other platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram…

3) Kobalt and Downtown severed their ties with Russia; Believe continues to operate in the market but is “monitoring the situation very closely”

The music industry’s relationship with Russia is a rapidly evolving story at the moment.

Two of the biggest non-major music companies in the industry – Kobalt Music Group and Downtown – have both confirmed in the last 24 hours that they are suspending their business activities in/with Russia.

In doing so, they join the three major music companies (Universal, Sony and Warner) – each of which announced this week that it was ending its own commercial activities in the market.

Another of the world’s largest independent music companies – Believe, headquartered in Paris – told MBW that it currently has no plans to suspend business operations in Russia.

A company spokesperson told us that this is Believe’s strategy “at this time”, but added that the company is “monitoring the situation very closely”…

4) Hipgnosis buys Leonard Cohen’s catalog through a Blackstone-backed fund

Hipgnosis acquired an interest in the 278 songs and derivatives written by Leonard Cohen.

Of these 278 compositions, 127 songs come from Leonard Cohen’s Stranger Music catalog, for which Hipgnosis acquired the author’s share of the royalties.

The Stranger Music catalog covers the period from the beginning of Cohen’s career until the year 2000 and includes all derivative works, making a total of 211 songs….


Downtown Music Holdings has created a new multi-million dollar fund to support independent artists and entrepreneurs.

The fund will be backed by a new credit facility with Bank of America and will see Downtown invest more than $200 million.

Downtown’s new $200 million commitment to independent artists and music entrepreneurs comes amid a global boom in the independent artist and label sector…

MBW’s Weekly Roundup is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize revenue and lower touring costs.The music industry around the world

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