Who said indies can’t make money? Martin Mills’ Beggars Group has reported solid financial results for the year 2016 as his independent music group benefited from hit releases including Adele’s ‘25’ and Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’.
The London-based indie powerhouse, which operates in Australia through a partnership with Remote Control Records, posted revenue of £70.6 million ($114 million) for the full year, with a net profit of £11.9 million ($19.3 million), MBW reports. Those results compared with revenue of £72.9 million ($113 million) in 2015, with a net profit of £12.9 million ($21 million), while gross profit grew to £19.6 million ($31.8 million), from £17.4 million ($28 million) in the previous year.
Of course, Beggars is a rare beast among indies in terms of scale. The group has affiliates dotted around the glove (including 4AD, Rough Trade and Matador) and a bevvy of influential – and big selling – artists on its books.
Also during the period, Beggars released 39 albums last year, down from 48 in the previous year-long period, and its workforce numbered 112 people, up from 104 in 2015.
Also last year, Beggars Group pulled off a coup when Radiohead moved its entire catalogue to Richard Russell’s XL Recordings, which Beggars co-owns.
Beggars Group “experienced a further shift to streaming,” the company noted in its 2016 accounts. “But the drop on in physical formats has slowed thanks to the resurgent demand for vinyl. We remain committed to promoting group artists through whichever channels music fans choose to listen.”
Mills, who founded Beggars Banquet Records in London in 1977, is widely considered a godfather of the independent music community and one of its most important advocates.. In an interview 10 years ago with this reporter, Mills shared these insights on his business instincts: “The kind of way EMI or Universal run their businesses are an alien world to the way we do it. We don’t live in a world of cash flow forecasts, we live in a world where we are well-organized business but it’s mainly run by gut instinct and feeling, which I think is the best way to deal with music. If you over-structure it, over target it, over analyze it, you’re destroying what you’re meant to be working with.”