Believe Posts 22.2% Q1 2023 Revenue Growth On Strong APAC/Africa Showing, Reveals It’s Exploring Licensing AI Music

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Believe founder and CEO Denis Ladegaillerie. Photo Credit: Believe

Believe (BLV on the Euronext Paris) achieved a 22.2 percent year-over-year (YoY) revenue improvement during 2023’s opening quarter, generating nearly €200 million, according to a new earnings report.

Paris-headquartered Believe, which last month disclosed a roughly 32 percent YoY revenue hike for all of 2022, posted its Q1 2023 financials today. According to the analysis, the Sentric owner pulled in €198.6 million across January, February, and March of this year.

The sum consists of €186 million from “premium solutions” (up 23 percent YoY) and approximately €12.7 million from “automated solutions” (up 11.2 percent YoY), Believe relayed. Moreover, digital revenue (like total revenue) grew 22.2 percent from the same period in 2022, per the resource – a jump chalked up to “resilient paid streaming” despite some signs of plateauing premium-account growth as well as an ad-supported slowdown.

Shifting to the revenue’s geographic breakdown, Believe indicated that income attributable to Asia-Pacific and Africa had surged by an even 40 percent YoY during the quarter to hit €56.1 million, with higher-ups pointing to “strong growth in India, Greater China and Southeast Asia alike.”

In India for the first quarter of this year, Believe was the number-one player in terms of market share in the market,” claimed founder and CEO Denis Ladegaillerie. “Ahead of traditional labels, ahead of local majors. Why? Because of the multi-tiered strategy that we’ve built. … We’re number one in the market with, depending on the services, between 15 to 30 percent market share on local music services.”

Europe (excluding France and Germany) followed in terms of overall revenue, turning in a 21.1 percent YoY boost to hit €54.4 million, per Believe. Meanwhile, operations in France are said to have accounted for €32.1 million on the quarter (up 13.2 percent YoY), against €29.4 million for the Americas (up 25.2 percent YoY, fueled by a “particularly successful” showing in streaming-heavy Brazil) and €26.6 million for Germany (up 3.7 percent YoY).

Perhaps the most interesting component of Believe’s Q1 2023 earnings report and call are the comments that Ladegaillerie delivered about the growing industry prevalence of artificial intelligence and his company’s monetization efforts.

“AI technology is here, in our view, to enhance human creativity, not to replace it. … We have deployed a number of quality controls in our business, and we do not wish to distribute – and we are not to distribute any content that is 100 percent created by AI, whether that’s through Believe or through TuneCore.”

Later in the earnings call, Ladegaillerie appeared to signal that Believe is looking to license AI music and cash in on fan creations involving the work and/or voice of their favorite acts. “We view AI as an opportunity forward,” he said. “What we’re doing now is we are experimenting with a few of the large global AI companies around attribution.

“Because formally it all boils down to if a track is being created tomorrow that uses music from several artists – if we want to be able to license that track and for the original artist to be compensated, we need to know what percentage of the new song that has been created is attributable to that artist or this artist.

“We’re doing a number of experiments to see how reliable attribution models are so that then we can move on to potentially licensing and generate a revenue opportunity for the artists. We’re also experimenting around how AI can be used to deepen the engagement between audiences and artists. We know that there are a number of users that do like to create content from the artist, that’s their way of engaging with the artist. So we’re doing some tests as well in that area with the larger player[s],” Ladegaillerie concluded.

For the remainder of 2023, Believe underscored that it “expects to leverage its cash to pursue its acquisition strategy…driven by opportunities created by current market conditions.” When trading wrapped today, BLV was worth €9.70, reflecting a 2.41 percent dip from Wednesday.