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Believe Rides Paid Streaming Gains to 9.1% Revenue Increase in Q3

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French music company Believe benefitted from “healthy” paid streaming growth as its third-quarter revenue grew 9.1% to 215 million euros ($197.6 million at the quarter’s average exchange rate), the Paris-based company announced Tuesday (Oct. 24).

The owner of distributor TuneCore and labels such as Groove Attack and Naïve said organic revenue growth of 7.5% would have been 15.4% without the impact of the currency translation within the digital royalties it receives from its digital partners. Paid streaming “remained strong,” the company stated in its earnings release, although revenue was not yet impacted by recent price increases “due to their deployment calendar in some markets.”

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Revenue grew 25.9% to 66.9 million euros ($61.5 million) in Europe outside of Believe’s two single largest markets, France and Germany, accouting for 31.1% of total revenue. The company cited particularly strong growth in Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and Turkey. The addition of Liverpool-based Sentric, acquired from Utopia Music in March, helped revenue growth in the United Kingdom. Revenue was up only 0.7% in France, which accounted for 16% of total revenue, after growing more than 40% in the prior-year quarter. Revenue dropped 6.4% in Germany due to non-digital sales being down “strongly” as Believe moved away from contracts it believes were too weighted in physical sales and merchandise. 

Revenue from Asia Pacific and Africa grew 6.6% to 55.8 million euros ($51.3 million) and accounted for 25.9% of total revenue. The company was helped by increased paid streaming penetration in the region but hurt by soft ad-supported streaming and a stronger euro against local currencies. Greater China was particularly strong, while Japan was aided by Believe’s roll-out of its Premium Solutions offering. The Americas accounted for 14.4% of Believe’s revenue and grew 8.4% in the quarter; Brazil and Mexico were particularly strong, the company said. 

Believe is comprised of two segments, Premium Solutions and Automated Solutions. Premium Solutions revenue rose 10.1% to 202.9 million euros ($186.5 million). Automated Solutions, which includes TuneCore, dropped 4.5% to 12.1 million euros ($11.1 million) due to a stronger euro and a challenging comparable period influenced by TuneCore’s launch of unlimited pricing in July 2022. 

Looking forward, Believe increased its forecast for adjusted earnings before taxes, interest and amortization margin from 5% at the mid-year mark to 5.5%. The company reiterated its guidance for full-year organic growth of 14%.

Although Believe’s growth slowed in the last two quarters, the company expects its organic growth rate — excluding foreign exchange impacts and the impacts of acquisitions — will recover in the fourth quarter “thanks to solid paid streaming trends enhanced by price increases by some large digital partners, a slight recovery in ad-funded streaming expected at the end of the quarter and additional market share gains,” it stated in the earnings release. 

Next year’s revenue will get an additional boost from subscription services following up their recent price increases by further raising prices to 12 euros/$12 per month, said CEO Denis Ladegaillerie during Tuesday’s earnings call. “We definitely expect [price increases] to come. ‘When’ is the question. But it’s going to be 2024, no doubt.”

Total revenue increased 9.1% to 215 million euros ($197.6 million).

Digital sales rose 7.1% while non-digital sales rose 39.6% as reported (12.4% at constant currency and constant perimeter).

Digital sales accounted for 92% of revenue, the same as the prior-year quarter.

Premium Solutions revenue grew 10.1% to 202.9 million euros ($186.5 million).

Premium Solutions’ digital sales rose 16.8% and non-digital sales rose 11.2%.

Automated Solutions revenue dropped 4.5% to 12.1 million.

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