Macroeconomic headwinds have blown multiple issues in the music industry’s direction this year, from soaring interest rates to rising inflation, plus the strength of the US dollar’s impact on global markets. But the rights acquisition space hasn’t ground to a halt. In fact, two prominent names in the rights acquisition space, that both became famous for listing funds on the London Stock Exchange – Hipgnosis and Round Hill Music – have been associated with $500 million worth of deals between them in 2022.
Audio content production studio Audio Up has closed its Series C funding round at what it says is a $150 million pre-money valuation. Audio Up says in a press release that it plans to use the proceeds from the round to “continue amplifying” the music side of its business, with the latest fundraise arriving nine months after it struck a joint venture with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). That agreement with UMG has focused on signing songwriters to create music for Audio Up’s original podcast programs.
Warner Bros. Discovery updated its estimate on restructuring charges related to Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia, and said content impairment and development write-off charges could be up to $3.5 billion — $1 billion more than it previously pegged. The media company made the disclosure in an SEC filing Wednesday. WBD said it “revised certain estimates related to its restructuring and transformation initiatives” that it previously disclosed in October.
The investment comes fresh on the heels of Public Pressure’s announcement that its first music and gaming NFT project raked in $2 million within days of its release. The project was launched in partnership with decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) Moonsama, introducing music as a gaming utility for the first time inside the Moonsama gaming metaverse.
Connect Music, a self-described “US music monetization company that provides distribution and publishing administration services,” has officially kicked off an international expansion initiative with the acquisition of London’s MTX Music. MTX was founded in 2018 by Mike Mills and former Universal Music and Sony Music exec Mike Bartlett. The company provides distribution and/or marketing services to the likes of Judith Owen, Lost Society, Jonathan Antoine, and Calum Foad, to name some.
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday asked a judge to halt Meta Platforms’ planned acquisition of a virtual-reality startup, a case that represents a shift in U.S. antitrust enforcement and poses a challenge to the Facebook parent’s metaverse strategy. The FTC is seeking an injunction blocking Meta’s planned acquisition of Within Unlimited Inc., the company behind the popular virtual-reality fitness game “Supernatural.”
After record deal-making in 2021, the number and dollar value of M&A in media and telecommunications fell during the past 12 months through November, according to the latest report by PwC. There have been 3,772 deals, a 26% year-over-year drop. The dollar value of M&A totaled $624 billion, an 18% dip, the firm said in its biannual U.S. Deals Outlook.
The completion of Concord’s asset-backed bond sale, which has repackaged publishing and recorded royalties from north of one million works, just recently came to light in a formal release from Apollo. Among these works (which are said to be valued at over $4 billion) are releases from R.E.M., Genesis and Phil Collins, Imagine Dragons, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Daft Punk, and an array of others.
There have been a lot of eyes on Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF) this year. The UK-listed fund, once the most active acquisitive entity in music rights, has paused its buying of catalogs over the past 12 months, and hasn’t raised any new share capital for rights buyouts during this period. Today (December 8), HSF has announced its half-year results for the six months to end of September 2022, with a number of positive signs, both for HSF investors and for the music rights business at large.
Many pure-play entertainment companies are facing an “existential threat,” says Peter Csathy, chairman of Creative Media, largely because the pivot toward streaming has yet to be fully realized. “The economics just don’t work,” Csathy adds. “In this streaming-first world, the content budgets are too high. The revenues that come in are too low in a hyper-competitive world where everybody’s chasing the same streaming dollar.”