Believe Acquires 15% of Philippines-Based Viva Music and Artists Group As Part of ‘Strategic Partnership’

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Manila, Philippines, as seen from Fort Santiago. Photo Credit: Michael Buillerey

Days removed from its acquisition of South Indian film-soundtrack label Think Music, Believe has purchased a 15 percent interest in Viva Music and Artists Group (VMAG), “the leading label in the Philippines.”

Paris-headquartered Believe and VMAG unveiled their just-finalized pact via a formal release this morning. A subsidiary of Viva Holdings, Viva Music and Artists Group itself encompasses divisions including Viva Records and Vicor Music. The former is “the fastest growing label in terms of new artists,” the involved parties have relayed, whereas Vicor is said to possess “the oldest and richest back catalogue in the Philippines.”

Publicly traded Believe spent about $26.03 million (€23 million) on the VMAG stake, calculating based upon the present exchange rate, for an overall valuation of nearly $175 million. Emphasizing the rapid music-industry growth that Asian nations have experienced in recent years, Believe execs likewise relayed that the continent of about 4.56 billion individuals “will become the largest recording music market globally by the end of this decade.”

Moreover, the 16-year-old indie label and distributor Believe – which bought a quarter of Play Two last month – expects that the decade will also conclude with “the Philippines being a top 20 country globally.” The state of 110 million residents has the second-largest population in Southeast Asia, ranking behind Indonesia (population 273.5 million) and above Vietnam (population 97.34 million).

Under the newly finalized partnership, VMAG and its signed acts are set to “benefit from the full range of digital services provided by Believe,” including the entity’s “proprietary marketing and technology solutions.” Moreover, “VMAG has been a first mover in mainstream local hip hop,” the text proceeds, and the companies intend to prioritize the promotion of domestic acts’ original tracks.

Addressing the agreement in a statement, Believe Asia Pacific managing director Sylvain Delange noted the “long-term” nature of the deal, which arrives as the Big Three record labels are taking far-reaching steps to bolster their market presence in Asia.

Warner Music Group, for instance, has quietly debuted Asian hip-hop label Asiatic Records and Pan-Asian dance label Whet Records during 2021, besides inking a distribution-focused partnership with Vietnam’s Yin Yang Media. Meanwhile, Sony Music has taken a $100 million stake in Chinese streaming service Cloud Village and, as part of a wider deal with South Korea’s Pinkfong, developed six Baby Shark non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Lastly, Universal Music Group is spearheading an ambitious expansion into China, and November saw the leading label open a UMPG office in Shanghai – despite the permanent exits of Yahoo and Fortnite from the world’s most populated nation.

One Response

  1. Toddi

    Believe is not a music company but more of a financial construct run by lawyers and bankers. They are acquiring all kinds of music businesses from their owners who are keen on a payout, only to make them non-functional and demotivate the staff. A really bad example of how the music business is a dysfunctional hell and almost like a scam used by shady bankers and lawyers to extract value from artists.