Business News Labels & Publishers

Sony Music reportedly taking a majority stake in Believe

By | Published on Monday 17 July 2017

Believe

There was a time when you could fill an entire conference centre with a trade fair of music distributors. But we’re starting to get close to the point where the only distributor left to exhibit will be Sony’s The Orchard. Though imagine what its stand will be like! Epic!

Anyway, according to Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, the ever acquisitive Sony Music is close to taking a majority stake in independent distribution and label services firm Believe, seemingly by buying out existing shareholders. The deal, thought to be worth between $355 million to $444 million, could close within the year. Neither Sony Music nor Believe have, as yet, commented on the report.

It’s not clear what the relationship between Believe and Sony would be if any deal were to go through. As Sony isn’t buying the distributor outright, the new parent company may well choose to have a hands-off relationship with its new acquisition, which would then presumably continue to operate pretty much as normal.

Though Sony would probably want to include the catalogues of music distributed by Believe – and its DIY artist distribution business TuneCore – in any subsequent deals with the big streaming platforms. Market share has an influence on the outcome of a label’s streaming deals – especially when it comes to kickbacks beyond the core revenue share and minimum guarantee arrangements – and that’s one reason behind Sony buying into so many distribution businesses in recent years.

Many of those previous acquisitions, of course, were streamlined by the major under its Orchard brand last month, it have taken complete control of the once independent The Orchard in 2015.



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