Sony Music UK’s acquisition of Ministry of Sound represents a major step in its bid to dominate the compilations market, but could the seemingly unstoppable rise of streaming throw a spanner in the works?
With a healthy position in the compilations market, Sony's buyout of Ministry of Sound appears to be something of a coup for the company, given the dance label’s healthy compilation business. The firm serves a small number of artists, but it has traditionally centred its business on the compilations market.
With the Ministry catalogue among its ranks, Sony certainly looks more of a threat than ever to its major rivals in the compilation market, primarily Universal.
In Q2 2016, Ministry's album share was 2.5% (AES), while three of its albums (Throwback - Slowjamz, The Annual 2016 and Go Hard Or Go Home) featured in the Top 10 compilations album chart for the first half of the year.
The new partnership will allow Ministry of Sound Recordings to grow its recorded music offering on a global scale. The entire roster will now sit alongside many of the world’s most successful modern day artists including Robbie Williams, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Meghan Trainor, Olly Murs, Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Williams.
Ministry of Sound Recordings curation team, led by Naz Idelji, is responsible for approximately one in every six compilation albums sold in the UK, having developed numerous brands including The Annual, Dance Nation, Trance Nation and Clubbers’ Guide.
However, bring streaming into the equation and things aren’t quite as straightforward.
The dance label was previously at loggerheads with Spotify over the streaming service’s decision to host playlists that replicated Ministry compilations. And, as with all compilations, curated playlists pose a significant threat.
That said, Sony is well placed to capitalise on the streaming boom, given the huge slice of catalogue it owns.
All in all, the move plays very nicely into the hands of Sony Corp, which just last week was given permission by the European Commission to purchase the Michael Jackson estate’s stake in its Sony/ATV publishing business.