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Entertainment

Why French music company Believe invested in Viva

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
Why French music company Believe invested in Viva
From left: Believe’s Asia-Pacifi c managing director Sylvain Delange, Viva Music and Artist. Group, Inc.’s CEO Vic del Rosario Jr. and Viva Records president Verb del Rosario.

What is Believe and what is it doing with Viva? This is the question that entertainment industry watchers have been asking these past few weeks. Early in December the news broke out that the Paris-based Believe has finalized a strategic partnership with the Viva Music and Artists Group, Inc. (VMAGI) by purchasing shares representing 15 percent of the total share capital to the tune of €23 million.

Given the current exchange rate of P56.84 to €1, that means a staggering P1,306,580,711 or US$25,950,693 if you want to get a better picture of the Believe investment. Lots of figures, too many for my ordinary calculator to assimilate. So what is Believe and what made it put its money on Viva?

Believe is one of the world’s leading digital music companies. Its mission is to develop independent artists and labels in the digital world by providing them the solutions they need to grow their audience at each stage of career and development. Believe’s passionate team of digital music experts around the world leverages the group’s global technology platform to advise artists and labels, distribute and promote their music.

Believe’s 1,401 employees in more than 50 countries aim to support independent artists and labels with a unique digital expertise, respect, fairness and transparency. Believe offers its various solutions through a portfolio of brands, including TuneCore, Nuclear Blast, Naïve, Groove Attack and AllPoints. This clearly means that Viva did not only get cash but has also acquired the expertise of a global leader in the digital arena.

Now, what prompted Believe to make the investment? Forty-year-old Viva is firmly established as one of the country’s leading and most innovative entertainment companies. From the release of a single feature film in 1981, it has developed into a multi-faceted outfit successful with films and television production, music, talent management and other aspects of the business.

Music-wise, VMAGI owns Viva Records, a fast-growing label in terms of new artists and Vicor Music, which has the richest back catalogue in the Philippines. Best of all, Viva has learned to adapt itself to changing technology and made the transition into the digital era.

Then, Viva is in the Philippines, which is in Asia. Asia is currently the fastest-growing digital music market and will become the largest recording music market in the world by the end of this decade with the Philippines being a Top 20 country globally. Believe started investing in the region in 2013 and is now present as a leading player in 14 territories. The addition of Viva and the Philippines just enlarged Believe’s footprint in the region.

Sylvain Delange, managing director of Believe Asia Pacific, has this to say about the partnership: “I am extremely proud and honored to establish this long-term partnership between Viva Music and Artists Group, Inc. and Believe. Under the highly successful leadership of Vic del Rosario Jr., coupled with the forward -thinking vision of Verb del Rosario, Viva has achieved the unique position of being simultaneously the most established and the most innovative music company in the Philippines. I am very confident that, leveraging each other’s expertise, this partnership will enable Viva and Believe to capture the ever-growing opportunities of the Philippine market and contribute to the rise of local artists.”

Vic del Rosario Jr., VMAGI chairman, president and CEO, welcomed Believe with these words: “It is with great pleasure and honor that I welcome Believe’s entry into Viva. Being one of the leading digital music corporations in the world, Believe brings with it its unparalleled track record in music technology.

“Opportunities are boundless as the partnership seeks to take Viva Music and Artists Group, Inc., into the next level with the aim of marrying Believe’s vast international knowhow on the digital front and that of Viva’s 40 year dominance of the Philippine entertainment scene. This is truly an exciting development not only for the two companies, but also for all the talented Pinoy artists who dream of making it big in the business here and abroad.”

Being with Believe just gave Viva a most welcome push into the forefront of the digital era. Lucky artists, those guys with Viva, getting support from Believe. But I also have the feeling that this partnership could be what we had been waiting for all this time for Filipino music to make it big out there on the global stage.

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