Beggars Group welcomes streaming price rises to correct 'undervalued' music subscriptions

Beggars Group welcomes streaming price rises to correct 'undervalued' music subscriptions

Beggars Group has reported its financial results for the 2022 calendar year.

The Beggars Group stable includes XL Recordings, 4AD, Rough Trade Records, Matador and Young Recordings.

The indie giant’s revenue increased by 13.9% year-on-year to £91.08 million in 2022. Beggars’ domestic market outperformed international: UK revenue was up 20.7% year-on-year to £12.3m, the rest of the world was up 15% to £40.2m (the remaining group revenue of almost £39m was attributed to the company share in joint ventures).

According to the financial report lodged at Companies House, post-tax profit was £16.07m (£623,101 in 2021). Operating profit was down 20.3% to £7.97m.

Staffing increased from 152 to 156, with staffing costs up 13.2% to £13.3m.

Beggars labels released 31 new albums in 2022, compared to 33 in the prior year.

During the trading period, successful releases included Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (4AD) by Big Thief (pictured), Dry Cleaning’s Stumpwork (4AD), The Smile’s A Light For Attracting Attention (XL), Spoon’s Lucifer On The Sofa (Matador) and Black Midi’s Hellfire (Rough Trade).

Beggars continues to draw upon its strong catalogue across streaming and physical releases.

“We continued to boost our catalogue by working with independent retail on vinyl reissue activity, and with our on streaming partners on campaigns geared towards a global fanbase,” stated the financial report.

Beggars Group welcomed the increases in streaming subscriptions. Following more than a decade of static prices, the wider industry has long called for higher charges to generate more revenue for artists and rights-holders. 

Spotify has finally followed other DSPs in increasing the subscription cost in the UK. Last month, the UK standard price plan increased from £9.99 to £10.99.

“We believe that streaming subscriptions have been undervalued and are pleased that the lead set by certain DSPs in increasing prices is being matched by the rest of the market,” stated Beggars Group’s report. 

“We remain committed to treating artists fairly and have developed several industry-leading policies to reflect this which have become a key component in what the company and group presents.”

Beggars Group is actively participating in IPO working groups, alongside AIM and UK Music, to define metadata best practice and create more transparency in the streaming economy. The company has come out against a switch to the equitable remuneration model, which it suggested would be “severely prejudicial to the ability to invest in new music”.

A year ago, Beggars Group warned of the impact of “galloping inflation” in the UK. Of course, that problem persists – despite earlier Bank of England forecasts – in the UK and Europe, and Beggars returns to the economic problems in its latest financial report. One concern is that higher interest rates will impact consumer spending on music.

“The poor economic outlook in the UK and Europe together with relatively high inflation has continued to bring pressure on marketing, production and distribution costs, as well as on overheads in general,” added the report. “On the other hand, the lion’s share of our revenues has a ceiling as subscription retail prices are set by DSPs such as Spotify and Apple. Consequently, label margins have been affected.”



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