SNEP snipes at Believe. Believe bites back.


There’s some disappointment afoot for global music biz data geeks like MBW: the French recorded music trade body, SNEP, says it’s not reporting market numbers for the first half of 2021.

The org is entirely pinning the blame for this decision on one of France’s most successful homegrown music companies: Believe, which floated on the Paris stock exchange at a $2 billion valuation in June.

In a statement released to media today, SNEP claims: “[SNEP] is this year is investing in changes to further improve its procedures, helped by the expertise of its new service provider, the Official Charts Company. The methodological changes involved in this transitional phase call for enhanced cooperation from all companies in the sector.

However, unlike the other main distribution companies – be they the major or independent labels – Believe has until now shown no willingness to be transparent about its activities in France. This has made it impossible for the first time to publish reliable data.

“In view of the need for accurate analysis of the annual figures, and in the best interests of the industry, we have no doubt that Believe will promptly comply with the rules established by all the distributors contributing to market data.”

This statement came as somewhat as a shock to Believe, whose spokesperson told MBW today in reaction that the company 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”.

Added Believe: “Like a number of other independent players, Believe hasn’t been providing its data to 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.”

Believe spokesperson

Continued the Believe spokesperson: “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.”

Obviously, there’s some reading between the lines necessary here. So let’s pick out the key phrases.

SNEP claims that Believe has “shown no willingness to be transparent about its activities in France” to the trade body.

Believe says that it’s never given its data to SNEP in the past, and acknowledges that – what with its market size – stats about its performance are kinda important if you want to get a true read of what’s going down in the French recorded music market.

Then comes the tell-tale quote from Believe: “Believe is always ready to participate in the production of market data and artist rankings when produced in an independent, honest and transparent way…”

Might we take it from those words that Believe is currently unimpressed by the way that SNEP is compiling its market data in France in tandem with the Official Charts Company?

Watch this space. We will see if Believe does indeed – and there’s arguably something a little authoritarian about this language – “promptly comply” with SNEP’s wishes.

In the meantime, we do have SNEP data showing that in the whole of 2020, France’s recorded music industry generated US $883 million trade revenues, a figure which was flat compared to 2019.Music Business Worldwide



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