From The Weeknd’s Universal deal to Spotify’s Q1 results: 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 Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.


This week, Spotify revealed that it grew its global subscriber base by 2 million quarter-on-quarter, to 182 million in Q1 2022.

That’s up from the 180 million subscribers the company counted at the close of 2021.

SPOT achieved this net subscriber growth despite its previously-announced loss of 1.5 million subscribers in Russia in Q1.

Spotify’s global Monthly Active Users (MAUs) hit 422 million at the close of the quarter, up by 16 million quarter-on-quarter.

Looking at Spotify’s financial performance in Q1 2022, the firm posted revenue of € 2.661 billion ($ 2.98bn)up 19% year-on-year on a constant currency basis.

Also this week, Universal Music Group (UMG) struck an expansive and long-term partnership with The Weeknd.

As part of the agreement, Universal Music Publishing Group will administer The Weeknd’s songwriting catalog and all his future works. The deal also builds on the relationship between The Weeknd and UMG’s Republic Records, which has been his label partner since 2012.

Elsewhere, SoundCloud revealed a series of updated stats about its Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR) system this week.

These stats include the fact that 135,000 independent artists are now getting paid through FPR, which marks a 30% growth in the volume of artists who have signed up to monetize their music via FPR on the platform since it launched in early 2021.

SoundCloud also claims that, on average, independent artists are now earning 60% more through Fan-Powered Royalties than they would have been had they stuck with the traditional pro-rata model.

Plus, Tencent Music Entertainment launched a new distribution service, while BMG acquired a 50% stake in the song interests of Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Innes and the late Robert Young of Primal Scream.

Here’s what happened this week…


1) NO NETFLIX PROBLEMS HERE: SPOTIFY ADDED 2M NET SUBSCRIBERS IN Q1 – DESPITE CUTTING OFF 1.5 MILLION SUBS IN RUSSIA

Following Netflix’s shaky Q1 2022 results, all eyes were on Spotify today (April 27) for its equivalent fiscal announcement… and perhaps its biggest test yet in front of investors as a public company.

Well, Daniel Ek’s company surpassed expectations in various metrics in the three months to end of March – most notably in terms of both subscribers and Monthly Active Users (MAUs).

The big news: Global subscribers of Spotify grew by 2 million quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2022, increasing to 182 million subscribers globally. That’s up from the 180 million subscribers the company counted at the close of 2021…


2) THE WEEKND SIGNS PUBLISHING PACT WITH UNIVERSAL – AND HE’S THROWN NEW RECORDINGS AND MERCH INTO THE PACKAGE TOO

Universal Music Group (UMG) has struck what it calls an expansive, long-term partnership with superstar artist, The Weeknd.

UMG says that as part of the agreement, Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) will administer The Weeknd’s songwriting catalog and all his future works, “in a new long-term deal, upon expiration of his existing commitment”.

For many years, The Weeknd’s publishing rights have been administered by Cobalt, but that deal now looks set for expiry at an unspecified date in the future.

The wide-ranging deal announced yesterday (April 28) also builds on the relationship between The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye), and UMG’s Republic Records, which has been his label partner since 2012 and which, UMG says, will remain his label partner for future recorded music releases…


3) 135,000 ARTISTS ARE NOW GETTING PAID THROUGH SOUNDCLOUD’S FAN-POWERED ROYALTIES PLATFORM

In April 2021, SoundCloud launched its industry-first ‘Fan-Powered Royalties’ platform – its own branding of the user-centric streaming payment model.

This method of monetization sees royalties from each individual subscriber’s monthly payment distributed only amongst the artists they listen to.

That’s opposed to the more typical ‘big pot’ or ‘pro rata’ streaming royalties model – adopted by the likes of Spotify – which sees all royalty revenue paid / generated by users centrally pooled by a service, before being shared on the basis of artist market share across an entire platform.

It’s now a year on from SoundCloud’s Fan-Powered Royalties were made available to independent artists who upload / monetize their music directly via SoundCloud. This week (April 26), SoundCloud revealed a series of updated stats about its payout system’s progress…


4) AFTER TIKTOK AND SOUNDCLOUD, TENCENT MUSIC IS A DISTRIBUTOR NOW TOO

There’s been a growing trend over the past couple of years of music streaming services becoming agnostic music distributors.

This arguably started with SoundCloud in 2019, when it launched a distribution feature that enabled artists to distribute their music to a range of rival streaming services. The following year, it launched a marketing and distribution platform for “serious artists who want to take their career to the next level”.

And just last month, ByteDance-owned viral video app TikTok launched its own promotion and music distribution platform, called SoundOn.

Now, Tencent Music Entertainment, the owner of China’s largest music streaming services, has become one of the industry’s newest global music distributors…


5) BMG ACQUIRES PRIMAL SCREAM SONG RIGHTS

BMG has acquired a 50% stake in the song interests of Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Innes and the late Robert Young of legendary Scottish rock band Primal Scream, together with their neighboring rights.

It includes the writers ‘shares in songs including Movin’ On Up, Loaded, Rocks and Come Together and covers all of their 11 albums from Sonic Flower Groove (1987) through to Chaosmosis (2016).

The deal follows BMG’s recent acquisition of rights from artists including Mick Fleetwood, Tina Turner, ZZ Top and Mötley Crüe…


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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