Sony Music Legacy Unrecovered Balance Program Extension: Rob Stringer


Sony Music Group (SMG) Chairman Rob Stringer touted a strong financial year (for the period April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021) and revealed plans to expand the company’s Legacy Unrecouped Balance program during a briefing to senior executives and investors of the company. delivered May 25.

Speaking from New York, Stringer hailed what he described as “record financial results”, resulting in record revenue, profit and margin figures for five consecutive years.

Meanwhile, SMG’s global roster of its frontline labels – namely Columbia, RCA and Epic – has grown by more than 30% and its creative staff over 85%. Investment in talent, both on the artist and executive side, has yielded tangible results in the form of global successes like the Kid Laroi, Maneskin, Doja Cat and Lil Nas X, who were mentioned during the presentation. BTS also contributed significantly to SMG’s bottom line, via its former distribution deal with Sony-owned The Orchard; the K-pop group left the company for Universal Music Group in October 2021.

Also noted were Stringer’s own signings while at the helm of Columbia: Harry Styles, who is set to be ‘the world’s best-selling No. 1 chart entry of the year’ with the all-new ‘Harry’s House’, and Adele, whose ’30’ was the best-selling album of 2021 worldwide.

On the publishing front, Sony Music Publishing maintained its #1 position, which it has held worldwide since 2012. SMP editors averaged 33% of Spotify’s global top 100 weekly share, up from 27% in 2020. Among them: Olivia Rodrigo, whose album “Sour” was an unstoppable performer in 2021 (the project’s lead producer, Daniel Nigro, is also signed to SMP).

Using Spotify as a barometer, Sony’s weekly share of the platform’s top 100 global titles increased only slightly to 36.1%, but its share of Spotify’s global top 10 jumped nearly 10%. % to 48.5%, compared to 39% the previous year.

Summarizing the company’s strategic acquisitions and investments, Stringer listed his majority stake in hip-hop label Alamo, home to Lil Durk; SMG’s purchase of dance music label Ultra “which has been very profitable for us over the years”, he noted; the recent final artist services regulatory approval concerns AWAL, which specializes in independent artists and DIY distribution; and the first Brazilian label Som Livre.

Catalog purchases from Bruce Springsteen (for recorded music rights and publishing) and Bob Dylan (recorded music) also factored into SMP’s significant spend.

Other notable details include $500 million in revenue SMP credits for new business categories such as social media, gaming, and fitness, and increased revenue from TV-funded audio and video services. advertising up 31.4% year over year.

But perhaps more important is Sony’s plans for its promise to be a creator-friendly company “looking for the most grounded ways” to represent talent. This includes its bold move to wipe out outstanding balances for artists signed before 2000, a move that will expand to include eligible artists who have been signed to the label for over 20 years. The first beneficiaries of the expanded Legacy Unrecouped Balance Program will be the Class of 2001 and will continue on an ongoing basis.

In its efforts to benefit its artists and songwriters, Sony’s Artists and Songwriters Forward and Artist and Songwriter Assistance programs will continue to provide transparency and mental health services. “We believe in the well-being of our artists and songwriters,” Stringer said. “We want to lead by example.”


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