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Distributor Believe has published its latest financial results, for the third quarter of 2021. The company saw its revenues grow by 27.1% year-on-year to €144m (around $166.4m), with its ‘premium solutions’ division accounting for €135m of that (up 29%) while its ‘automated solutions’ (essentially TuneCore) growing more slowly, by 2.6% to €9m.

There’s some interesting data on the geographical breakdown of Believe’s revenues. The Asia-Pacific and Africa regions (which are combined in its financials) have grown from 18.6% of the company’s business a year ago to 22.2% now, thanks to a 58% growth in revenues in those markets. The company is reducing its reliance on France and Germany, with its Americas and Europe (outside those two countries) revenues also increasing their share.

As for other breakdowns of Believe’s business, digital was 92% of its turnover in the third quarter of this year, inching up from 90% in Q3 2020. The company saw its non-digital sales decline by 1.5% year-on-year last quarter, although clearly the 30.4% rise in digital revenues outweighed that.

Alongside the financials, Believe announce that it has bought a 25% stake in French independent label Play Two, which is part of media group TF1. The deal valued the label at €50m, so Believe’s stake is €12.5m, and will see it using “the whole range of Believe’s services, particularly in terms of distribution”.

One other thing jumped out at us from Believe’s financials: some details on the technology it has been building in-house. There’s a self-service ad-buying platform for artists and labels, that has launched in 12 countries so far. And then “an algorithmic technology which aims at predicting the virality of a track on TikTok”.

According to Believe, the system analyses recommended tracks in categories including emerging, rising, booming, top hits and sunsetters, with that data then used “to alert its artists and labels to existing and emerging opportunities and implement digital strategies at the optimum time in order to grow their audience.”

This is building on a licensing and marketing deal signed by Believe and TikTok in July 2020, as well as recent hints that the distributor is exploring putting official music videos on TikTok. Believe has also recently launched its own smart-links tool, using technology acquired when it bought startup Soundsgood in 2020. A sign of how in-house tech is becoming an ever-more important part of the competitive landscape for distributors.

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