SNEP Criticizes Believe, Refuses to Publish French Music Industry H1 2021 Report; Believe Fires Back

Believe Digital stock
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Believe Digital stock
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Photo Credit: Believe

The National Syndicate of Phonographic Publishing (SNEP) has officially declined to release the French recorded music industry’s revenue specifics for the first half of 2021, citing Paris-headquartered Believe’s unwillingness to “be transparent about its activities in France.” Believe higher-ups, for their part, have fired back against the allegations.

SNEP just recently revealed (via a formal release) that it “will not publish the figures” for the French recorded music industry in Q1 and Q2 2021, with Believe’s alleged lack of transparency having made “it impossible for the first time to” post “reliable data.” 99-year-old SNEP – which previously indicated that France’s H1 2020 music-industry revenues had increased by 0.4 percent year over year, well beneath the global growth rate – also mentioned Believe’s alleged unwillingness “to apply the rules set by all the distributors contributing to market data.”

“While the SNEP is investing this year to adapt and further improve its procedures thanks to the expertise of its new service provider, The Official Charts Company” – a London-headquartered entity operated in part by the BPI – “the methodological break induced by this transition phase calls for enhanced cooperation between companies in the sector.

“However, unlike the main distribution players, both majors and independents, Believe has so far not wished to be transparent about its activities in France, making it impossible for the first time to publish reliable data,” continues Google’s translation of the French-language document, which then highlights the aforementioned rule-related disagreement.

“In view of the analysis of the annual figures and in the best interests of the profession, we have no doubt that the company will quickly agree to apply the rules set by all the distributors contributing to market data,” SNEP concluded.

As initially noted, Believe – which began trading on the Euronext Paris in June – promptly returned fire with a statement of its own.

“Believe was surprised to learn through a press release and without having been informed beforehand that SNEP needed Believe’s data for the publication of their market figures,” said the TuneCore parent company. “Like a number of other independent players, Believe hasn’t been providing its data to the SNEP for the last several years, and it was never an issue. We understand that Believe’s significant market position in the French market makes its data necessary to the completeness and reliability of the market data published by SNEP.

“Believe is always ready to participate in the production of market data and artist rankings when produced in an independent, honest and transparent way, in all of its operating countries. We are available to discuss with SNEP how best to achieve these goals in France,” the 16-year-old company’s statement concludes.

At the time of this piece’s publishing, SNEP didn’t appear to have responded to Believe’s statement, and it’s unclear how the disagreement (and the lack of H1 2021 revenue specifics for the French recorded music industry) will affect upcoming reports from the IFPI, which indicated that France boasted the fifth-largest music market of any country in 2020, ahead of sixth-ranked South Korea and behind fourth-ranked Germany.