With $53 million in annual revenue last year, Queen still tops Bohemian Rhapsody (the movie)
MBW’s Stat Of The Week is a series in which we highlight a data point that deserves the attention of the global music industry. Stat Of the Week is backed by Cinq Music Group, a technology-driven record label, distribution and rights management company.
Last summer, The music industry around the world revealed that copyrights to Queen’s music were still making a lot of money, despite the band last releasing a new studio album (with Freddie Mercury) in the mid-90s.
We have located a tax declaration published by Queen Productions Ltd.a UK-based company which files its annual accounts for each financial year until the end of September.
This filing revealed that Queen Productions Ltd. – which reflects the band’s revenue from music copyrights – generated £41.67 million (US$53.5 million) royalties in FISCAL YEAR 2020 (all 12 months until the end of September this year).
(Queen Productions Ltd. is owned by the surviving original members of the band, as well as the estate of Freddie Mercury; the band’s touring revenues go to a subsidiary.)
In fiscal 2020, Queen’s annual copyright royalties continued to be boosted by the long-term success of Bohemian Rhapsodythe Oscar-winning film, released worldwide in October 2018.
How long could the halo effect of this film last?
Well, it still seems to be going on: Queen Productions Ltd has generated £38.92 million ($53.5 million) in royalties in its last financial year (the 12 months to the end of September 2021), according to recently released UK annual accounts analyzed by MBW.
This figure was down by only 6.6% from year to year. (In terms of USD constant currency, it was flat at $53.5 million, according to IRS annual exchange rates.)
Not bad considering that Queen’s previous annual accounts warned: “It is expected that there will be further income from [Bohemian Rhapsody] movie during the year ended September 30, 2021…although that is expected to decline year-over-year.
Whatever credit you give Bohemian Rhapsody for fueling Queen’s financial rise over the past three years, the band’s current popularity remains impressive.
The Queen currently sits at No. 44 on Spotify’s list of the most listened to artists in the world, with 40.3 million monthly listeners.
Queen has however been overtaken in recent weeks by one of their contemporaries: Kate Bush – following its global boost Run up that hill received from a stranger things sync – is now at No. 34 on Spotify’s Global Monthly Listener Chart, with 44.5 million of them.
(Queen also missed out on IFPI’s list of the top 10 revenue-generating recording groups in the world in 2021 and 2020 – having made the list in 2018 and 2019.)
Yet when you look further back at Queen Productions Ltd’s earnings, the band’s astonishing recent increase in earnings – and impressive maintenance of their popularity – becomes evident.
In fiscal year 2016, for example, Queen’s Copyright Company generated just GBP £12.34 million in total.
This is less than a third of the revenue Queen Productions Ltd generated in the 2021 financial year (£39.19 million).
All of which obviously raises interesting questions about the value of Queen’s catalog, and whether it could ever (especially if recorded music and publishing are combined) exceed the hallowed figure of 1 billion US dollars.
Added to the possibility: Pink Floyd’s The catalog of recorded music (plus neighboring rights and name and likeness rights) is currently seen as attracting offers from more than 500 million dollars major record labels.
Queen’s recorded music catalog is currently owned by the band outside of North America (where it is owned by Disney Music Group). Ex-North America, Queen Productions Ltd grants this catalog to Universal Music Group as a distributor and partner of the record label.
According to Queen Production Ltd’s 2021 annual results, the company paid £11.53 million ($15.9 million) on the cost of sales in the year.
The company also paid another £10.84 million ($14.9 million) in “administrative expenses”.
As a result of these deductions, Queen Productions Ltd. ended fiscal 2021 with £16.84 million ($23.2 million) in profit before tax, a profit margin of 43%.
The owners of Queen Productions Ltd. removed a £17.07 million ($23.5 million) dividend for the financial year, following a dividend of £20.17 million ($25.9 million) during fiscal year 2020.
The company that owns the music publishing rights to Queen’s in the UK is Queen Music Ltd.
According to the deposits, he paid £23.04 million in financial year 2021 to “entities under the control of directors and shareholders” – which may be a reference to Queen Productions Ltd.
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