Music Industry News 2021
by Alex Cosper

Vivendi to Spin Off UMG by Yearend

Vivendi SA announced Feb. 13 it plans to spin off its profitable music division Universal Music Group later this year as an IPO on the Euronext stock exchange. Tencent Holdings Ltd. recently doubled its stake and now owns 20 percent of UMG, while Vivendi owns the rest. Following the announcement ratings specialist Moody's changed its outlook on Vivendi from stable to negative. UMG is currently the world's largest music company worth $36.4 billion (30 billion euros).

While UMG has been profitable during the pandemic, Vivendi's advertising and publishing revenue has declined. The French conglomerate first announced its intentions to sell the music division about a year ago. The Tencent-led group supports going public as shareholders meet Mar. 29 to discuss the plan.

Music Streaming Services Generate $424 Million in Licensing Fees

The nonprofit organization Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) announced on Feb. 16 it had received over $42 million in licensing fees from various music streaming services. Apple Music contributed the largest share at over $163 million. The next biggest share came from Spotify, which paid over $152 million, followed by Amazon's payment of over $42 million. These fees were characterized by the MLC as "accrued historical unmatched royalties from digital service providers."

Hipgnosis to Expand Shares and Catalogs

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited said in its Jan. 21 prospectus it will issue up to 1.5 billion new shares and plans to keep on acquiring ownership of valuable song repertoires of proven recording artists. As of last September, the company's music catalog was valued at $1.59 billion after acquiring the rights to music of several legends. Neil Young recently sold 50 percent of his song catalog to the firm.

GSU to Offer Music Industry Degree

Not many campuses in America offer music industry degrees, but Georgia Southern University's Department of Music plans to launch such a program in the Fall of 2021. The coursework will revolve around traditional music programs along with music technology, management, live sound, recording and more. GSU is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

Sub Pop Opens New Retail Store in Seattle

Sub Pop Records is known around the world as a music label that spearheaded the Seattle rock explosion of the 90s led by Nirvana. The label announced in January it has added its second retail store in Seattle to sell band merchandise such as vinyl albums, shirts and hats. Sub Pop's original airport location opened in 2014, as the new flagship location is at 2130 7th Ave.

See 2020 Music News

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