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From BTS joining the military to Simon Cowell’s TikTok ‘talent show’… it’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up


Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly round-up – where we make sure you caught the five biggest stories to hit our headlines over the past seven days. MBW’s round-up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.


Music giant HYBE revealed on Monday (October 17) that BTS, its flagship group, and biggest revenue earner, will fulfill their mandatory military service in their home country of South Korea.

The announcement followed months of speculation about whether or not BTS might get an exemption due to their contribution to the country’s economy and cultural exports worldwide.

HYBE says that it and the members of BTS will “reconvene” in “around 2025” following their service commitment.

The firm’s CEO Jiwon Park issued a letter to investors on Monday (October 17) to reassure them that HYBE has a detailed business strategy in place for when BTS take a break to fulfill their compulsory army service…

Elsewhere this week, Simon Cowell and SYCO Entertainment, along with entertainment executive Tim Van Rongen, partnered with Universal Music Group and Republic Records to launch a new music discovery project on TikTok called StemDrop.

StemDrop will see hit songwriters Max Martin, Savan Kotecha and Ali Payami release a new single exclusively on TikTok, where creators globally will be able to use the “stems” of the single to produce their own versions.

Music-makers the world over will then upload their creations to (Cowell’s project partner No.1) TikTok… in the hope of being spotted and signed by (Cowell’s project partner No.2) Republic Records / Universal Music Group.

Also this week, video streaming giant Netflix reported that it added 2.4 million subscribers in Q3 (up 4.5% YoY) after two straight quarters of decline.

Commenting on the platform’s subscriber growth during Netflix’s earnings interview on Tuesday, founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, said: “Well, thank God, we’re done with shrinking quarters. That’s a big feeling of, we’re back to the positivity.”

Plus, the three major music publishers now own or control over 10 million songs between them (kind of), while social media service Pinterest has struck new partnerships with Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell Music, BMG and Merlin.

Here’s what happened this week…


1) AS BTS PREPARE TO JOIN THE MILITARY – AND QUIT MUSIC UNTIL 2025 – HYBE’S CEO SAYS COMPANY HAS A PLAN WITHOUT ITS BIGGEST EARNER

HYBE CEO Jiwon Park wrote to the company’s investors on Monday (October 17) with a breakdown of its business strategy in the absence of one of its key revenue earners, BTS.

On Monday, HYBE confirmed that BTS will carry out compulsory military service in their home country of South Korea, following months of speculation about whether or not the K-Pop superstars might get an exemption from the draft.

According to the official announcement, the group will reconvene in “around 2025”.

In the letter issued by HYBE’s CEO to the publicly-traded company’s shareholders, he said that Monday’s announcement “cleared the uncertainties surrounding BTS”, and, seeking to reassure investors, added that, “we have long predicted and prepared for their military service in advance”.

He noted further that the company will “continue to resolve the concerns of our shareholders by carrying out the plans that we have already prepared…”


2) SIMON COWELL TEAMS WITH TIKTOK, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP TO LAUNCH MUSIC-MAKING ONLINE ‘TALENT SHOW’

We’ve had televised talent shows where contestants sing their favorite songs… and get a record contract at the end.

We’ve had televised talent shows where contestants write and sing their favorite songs… and get a record contract at the end.

Arguably, both formats have been pioneered and globally amplified by one individual more than any other: Simon Cowell.

Yet the popularity of these types of talent shows – as evinced by the self-inflicted axing of Cowell’s X Factor last year – has been on the wane for some time.

While that’s been going on, the record industry has become increasingly addicted to seeking out – and signing – music artists who primarily showcase themselves on TikTok.

So what is Simon Cowell to do?

Launch a ‘talent show’ on TikTok, obviously! But one with a very modern twist….


3) AFTER A ‘CHALLENGING’ H1, NETFLIX BEATS EXPECTATIONS TO ADD 2.4M SUBS IN Q3

Netflix delivered good news for investors (and the wider subscription streaming business) this week, reporting better-than-predicted revenue, operating income, and monthly Active Users for Q3.

The video streaming giant added 2.4 million subscribers in Q3 (up 4.5% YoY). This paid membership growth comes after two straight qua2rters of decline for Netflix. According to the company’s Q2 2022 results, published in July, Netflix lost 970,000 subscribers in the three months from April to June. In Q1, Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers.

Netflix’s total paid subscriber base at the end of Q3 was 223 million. The company forecasts that it will add 4.5 million in Q4, which would mark 2.6% YoY growth.

In a letter issued to shareholders on Tuesday (October 18), Netflix noted that “after a challenging first half, we believe we’re on a path to reaccelerate growth”.


4) THE THREE MAJOR MUSIC PUBLISHERS NOW OWN OR CONTROL OVER 10 MILLION SONGS BETWEEN THEM (KIND OF)

There are some stats that MBW stumbles across which are simply too startling not to turn into a headline. This is one of them.

The world’s three biggest music publishing companies – Sony Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Warner Chappell Music – now cumulatively own and/or administer over 10 million compositions between them (kind of… as we will explain).

We’ve been able to discover that statistic by digging through investor filings from each parent company of the major publishers….


5) PINTEREST STRIKES DEALS WITH WARNER, MERLIN AND BMG TO EXPAND MUSIC EXPERIENCE ON PLATFORM

Social media service Pinterest has struck new partnerships with Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell Music, BMG and Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent label sector.

According to a press release announcing the string of partnerships, “through these new deals, users will now be able to add tracks from Ed Sheeran, Silk Sonic, Anitta, and many more to their Idea Pins…”


MBW’s Weekly Round-Up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.

 Music Business Worldwide

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