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FRTYFVE Making Noise in Artist Services

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FRTYFVE

Tencent backed artist growth company FRTYFVE isn’t your traditional record label, but is making waves within the industry nonetheless as they have already acquired the likes of AWAL and Platoon.

“What we care about in the signing process is whether or not we believe we can realistically get you to 10 million streams a month,” says Conrad Withey, the UK-based founder of the company. “Because, once you reach that point, it means you’re making a living from music.”

FRTYFVE boasts some notable successes, such as  SadBoyProlific (2.5 million Spotify monthly listeners) and New York-based pop artist Rachel Grae (1.9 million), while its fastest-growing acts include non-binary ‘interdisciplinary’ artist Rio Romeo (646k Spotify monthly listeners).

FRTYFVE’s Label Director, Emma Banks claims that its artists grow their streaming business by 463% in their first year after signing with the firm, and could be a big boon to the music content creators space as well.

“I went to see a live agent the other month and told him that an artist we both work with is releasing a track every couple of weeks with us,” says Withey. “He nearly fell off his chair, and said: ‘Every couple of weeks?! We have artists in the studio right now agonizing over selecting the music they’re going to take to the market.’

“That made me think: how does any artist know what music the market wants… without asking the market?”

“The beauty of streaming for independent artists is you can get to a place where you start making $3k to $5k a month – or for some artists much more – without investing an awful lot [in marketing]. All that matters is growing an audience that loves you, converting that into streams, which then converts into predictable income. There is no influencer required in that process. And guess what? Streaming algorithms really like fans who share music, save music, and keep streaming.

“I get frustrated when streaming economics are bemoaned by artists who don’t have a real fanbase. They might think they do, because a certain trendsetting radio station is playing their music, or they sold a few thousand albums ten years ago and received an advance. But if you strip all of that away, if your music’s on streaming services today and you’re not getting a lot of plays – and therefore not getting very much money as a result – it’s because you don’t have a real fanbase.”

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Business

Sony Acquires Queen’s Catalog for $1.2 Billion

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Sony has made a massive acquisition in the music space, acquiring the catalog of legendary rock band Queen for a whopping $1.27 billion, according to a report from Hits and later confirmed by Variety.

According to Variety, the only revenue not covered in the deal is for live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still actively tour with singer Adam Lambert, will retain.

The bidding came down to Sony and an undisclosed player who was said to be very close but stopped short at $900 million, allowing Sony to walk away with the catalog.

There is no denying the iconic value of Queen’s catalog, which includes such memorable hits as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “39,” “Somebody to Love” and “You’re My Best Friend” as well as the iconic “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” which have been globally integrated with major sports leagues especially during games and during championship celebrations.

Furthermore, the success of  the 2018 biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” demonstrates the potential for the group’s name and likeness rights and could also hint at a potential musical presentation for Broadway or in London in the future.

It is worth noting that the catalog, which has been in play for the last several years, is complicated by the group’s recorded-music rights for the United States and Canada, which were acquired by entertainment juggernaut Disney, for an undisclosed price, at some time during the 2000s following an initial $10 million licensing deal back in 1991, with those rights remaining with Disney  in perpetuity, although certain of the bandmembers’ remaining royalties from them will go to Sony once the deal officially closes.

Queen’s distribution deal is current with Universal, but will go to Sony in all territories outside the United States and Canada when it expires in 2026 or 2027.

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Business

Sony Music Publishing Debuts MENA Division

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Sony Music Publishing has officially rolled out it’s MENA Division, which is based out of a new office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and has tapped former Anghami Executive Dounia Chaaban to serve as its managing director, according to an official company announcement.

Chaaban will report to SMP SVP of international Dan Nelson.

“I look forward to working hand in hand with the incredibly talented team at Sony Music Publishing to propel the MENA music industry to new heights,” Chaaban said in the statement. “Together, we will create an environment that nurtures creativity, fosters innovation, and unlocks the boundless potential of the region’s musical landscape.”

“We are excited to welcome Dounia to the Sony Music Publishing team,” Dan Nelson added. “Dounia’s extensive experience working with local talent will be invaluable as we expand opportunities for new and established songwriters and artists across the region. There couldn’t be a more opportune moment to launch our business, and we look forward to growing our presence in the MENA region.”

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Entertainment

Usher’s Record Breaking Night on Apple Music Sparks 1,200% Rise in Streams

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Usher’s 13-minute Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show did some big numbers and featured a party of entertainers at the end including star such as Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri, will.i.am, and H.E.R. joining him on stage.

The NFL says that Usher’s performance is now the most-watched Super Bowl Halftime Show in history, averaging 129.3 million viewers.

But the NFL isn’t the only entity celebrating success as Apple Music saw Usher’s listeners increase to an astonishing level of 1,200% compared to the previous Sunday, marking his biggest day in history by streams.

“My Boo” saw a 738% increase in listeners, “Confessions, Pt. II” jumped by 1,800 listeners, “Love in This Club” saw one of the biggest rise in listenership of the night at 2,000%, while, “OMG” and ‘Burn” also saw incredible upticks in the United States charts.

But ‘Yeah!’ takes the cake as the big winner, as it experienced the biggest day in Apple Music history for the song, with an 837% boost in listeners Sunday night.

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