Since the start of the year, CMU has been sitting down with key people from across the music industry to discuss their work, key trends and challenges, and what to expect in the year ahead. Today, Alex Kennedy, Managing Director of Believe UK.
What were the biggest wins for Believe UK in 2023?
2023 started strong for Believe UK with the restructuring of our senior team, appointing some of the industry’s top executives to help us in our mission to best serve our artists and labels.
Since then, our focus has been on progressively increasing Believe UK’s market share on streaming platforms and all-formats, and we are now sitting as one of the leading UK digital music companies. This success was recognised at the 2023 Music Week Awards, where we won the Best Artist/Label Services category – beating not only other independents, but also all of the major-owned services companies.
The past year has seen some stand-out successes for Believe UK’s Label & Artist Solutions division, notably with the roll-out of Believe’s new global electronic imprint, b:electronic, which is being spearheaded by the UK team. This included the signings of legendary dance labels Hospital Records and Rinse, with Hospital subsequently taking home two awards at September’s AIM Independent Music Awards.
Our successful collaboration with house label Cr2 Records led to its long-term signing of producer Matt Sassari, off the back of a Believe-led campaign that helped his track ‘Give It To Me’ reach platinum certification, surpassing 400 million streams across all platforms.
Additionally, on the artist services side, our continued work with singer-songwriter Novo Amor has seen him recently surpass the two billion stream milestone across all platforms, following a campaign to grow his international audience. Our work with drill artist Blanco also saw his 2023 single ‘Brilliant Mind’ break the UK top 100, peaking at number 66. A viral TikTok campaign led to 50,000 uses and 43 million listens, helping drive a surge in streams, surpassing 1.3 million streams on Apple Music and Spotify in one week.
What are the key challenges for your clients?
The key challenges for our clients are centred around navigating the complexities of the digital music landscape, while also seeking support and growth opportunities for their careers. We ensure that our clients effectively leverage the power of digital service providers to help grow their audiences in the UK and globally. We have also guided our clients through the evolutions of streaming models.
Generative AI, and AI more generally, have been the talk of the town for the past few months, and we expect this to continue in 2024. We are convinced this technology will open a new age of creativity and discovery, and have built our company strategy in full alignment with our client's needs and challenges in mind – that of a responsible approach to AI based on consent, control, compensation and transparency.
What will be key priorities for Believe UK in the year ahead?
In 2024, Believe UK is gearing up for a milestone celebration – our fifteenth anniversary. As we head into this milestone, our priority remains to serve our artist and label partners in the most innovative way possible and to continue to strengthen and deepen our relationships with DSPs, ensuring we provide our clients with the best-in-class support when it comes to digital services.
We are continuing to diversify our service offerings by forming partnerships and joint ventures with executives and talent who are interested in building their own businesses within the music industry. This year kicked off with our recent announcement of our partnership with music powerhouse Mahogany.
Through these priorities, Believe UK hopes to play its part in supporting the emergence of successful UK independent artists and labels, offering a counterbalance to the prevalent dominance of US and major label acts in the market. By doing so, we hope to amplify the voices of UK independent artists and labels in the market and give them a platform from which to prosper.