Q3 2020 Update - Your Music Streaming Pension Up 80% YTD
Your Music Streaming Pension is Up 80% YTD "A Portfolio Insurance Policy that Pays"
We hope all of you are staying healthy in these extraordinary times. During the quarter MRI increased its annual dividend 80% from the initial 1 cent per share to 1.8 cents per share and increased payments from quarterly to monthly dividends. MRI has paid out almost C$500,000 in dividends in 2020. In Q3 we made 3 acquisitions for a total of US$527,500 or C$703,000 for an expected income of about C$100,000 as follows: #24 Joyner Lucas for US$172,500, #25 $55,000 Enrique Iglesias/Jay Sean and #26 for a Drake song “In My Feelings” for US$300,000.
On our first merchandise drop of t-shirts in 2018, we wrote a bold statement “get an increasing monthly paycheque for life.” For those investors that are still are not totally accepting or understanding the business model or industry dynamics, here are the key ideas to digest.
Macro Strategy and Economics of Music Royalties – a ‘Utility’ payment
For the average investor, regardless of how one has constructed their portfolio, the bulk of their returns have likely come from real estate (secured limited supply), technology (disruption), banks and utilities (monopolies) over the past 100 years. Many people do not understand the extraordinary success and valuation of Elon Musk’s Tesla or Steve Job’s Apple. Who would have imagined Apple’s transition from a niche consumer tech company in the 1990s to a “Utility” company in 2020. Technology companies have become “digital utility companies” on a global scale. Music is one of the industries which is part of and has benefitted from this global digitization and the royalties are protected by copyright or secured like real estate.
The anchor behind music royalties is the global digital collection system mandated by each country’s government (ASCAP, BMI, PRS, SOCAN). These agencies collect on behalf of the rights holders and automatically pays them quarterly. With the current volatility and uncertainty in the markets, music royalties are a direct diversified currency hedge, assuming the assets purchased are high grade, immortal cash flows.
Music Assets – a new “Alternative Digital Asset Class”
Warren Buffett insists the best investment always has a “moat” around their business or brand. The security behind Music Royalties is derived from contractual and/or copyright protection. This is their moat, but the brand is created by the artist who performs them. When evaluating if a music cash flow is immortal, one needs to determine if the brand and the song is everlasting which is evidenced by the hundreds of millions or billions of plays or views of the song in question. To enhance and extend their brand an artist must cross-market by associating with other brands like the NFL (Superbowl), Coca-Cola (commercials), TV show appearances, etc.
The Circle of Life is tied to the Life of a Song. An artist is orientated to create and making money is not the focus. For artists that have a one hit wonder and so much concentrated success early, it’s easy for them to go into a mid-life retirement. However, the sad truth is that often this success early in life leads negative vices which leads the artists to come out of retirement. This aligns with the audience and explains why studies show a direct correlation between the songs listened to growing up and the music you listen to throughout life and into retirement. Your favourite songs inevitably get passed on to your children’s playlists.
MRI Headaches and Remedies = Opportunities
We need to re-iterate that MRI is not a start-up but a company aggregating proven assets with a history measured in years or decades in generating income. The key issue we face is that there are too many deals to be done – logical since there are well over 1 million rights holders. Our pipeline consists of almost US$1 billion in diversified music assets with the most attractive deal being a US$10 million in diversified cash flow. These larger deals require large investment, but our current corporate structure and size is not attractive for a pension fund nor for large family offices of ultra high net worth investors who generally want to invest in a private equity or fixed income/high yield fund. Music Royalties Inc. is a hybrid financial product that generates a high consistent income through monthly dividends that expects its payouts to be revalued at a 1% discount rate as a public company which will create exceptional capital gains for its shareholders.
We have received a lot of feedback from the hundreds of people we have encountered over the last three years and the most frequently asked question is:
What is your competitive advantage and what makes you different from the Music Royalty Funds, Private Equity firms or public Music companies?
For the most part, fixed income funds are focused on generating a yield of 5-7% (no capital gains) and private equity is focused on the process of adding value by being in the music business by ‘working the catalog’ (getting it into movies, advertisements, etc.). Both of these potential competitors are ‘funds’ with a time limited mandate usually of up to 10 years after which they are required to ‘sell’ or exit from the investment with an uncertain capital gain. Also, the funds typically make acquisitions by offering only cash to the artist for 100% ownership which is not necessarily beneficial to the artists, especially after taxes, lawyer and agent fees. The public music companies are already large market cap companies that do not offer the pureplay and excitement of isolating the growth in the ‘passive streaming income’.
Music Royalties Inc. offers a decent 5% yield but more importantly unlimited upside from ongoing accretive acquisitions in a perpetual roll-up as well as a capital gain by allowing the average investors or fans to own royalties generated from their favourite artists, brands or songs. MRI’s portfolio of songs include artists which are followed on Spotify by over 450 million monthly listeners. Through the new social media paradigm, if only 1 million of those listeners buy $1,000 worth of stock that will create $1 Billion in buying power. Finally, MRI is working to help continue the legacy and brand of artists, so we do not want to cash them out fully. We want them to make money with MRI, through share ownership. Most artists don’t want to sell their life’s work. They are selling to pay bills, taxes or for estate planning.
MRI has an endless number of deals and ideas to implement. Investing is always about the future value. So it’s not about the dividend today but what it can grow to and the other royalty assets we can acquire like movie or film residuals and director royalties. We continue to raise capital at C$0.40 per share with our eye on a US$5 million acquisition. Completing such a transaction will allow us to increase the dividend to 2.4 cents per share for a 6% yield for new investors. Assuming the markets settle down after the US election and the 2nd wave of the pandemic, we plan to transition into a public company in 2021.
MRI endeavours to satisfy the relatively simple investment criteria of most investors – combine Capital Preservation with a Dividend Aristocrat backed by a Growing Economic Moat. We believe this is best achieved through the Royalty Model (the highest margin business) in a Perpetual Roll-Up (for long term growth) backed by Globally Diversified Life of Author plus 70 year Copyright Protection or Contracts generated from the new online or virtual economy – the FAANG stocks. Taking this investment rationale beyond the typical realm of localized real estate, volatile limited growth stocks and low yielding bonds, MRI is a non-sovereign, non-cyclical, non-correlated global digital FAANG stock currency.
Please download and listen to our playlist on Spotify with all the top songs we have a financial interest in: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4cAyFuGMA3AHG0sCro8RaI?si=xEORG5siTG6ZyKEKBs_82g
MRI is a long term investment and we hope that all shareholders will help us continue to grow the dividend and the share price by finding and funding new deals through active sharing of our story and incremental investment through their family, friends and other investor introductions.
Our goal is to allow monthly listeners or fans of artists in which we have a financial interest through a manager, producer, sound recording, writer, etc to be investors and ‘owners’ in a diversified portfolio of their favourite music through a public company, during this period of unprecedented growth in streaming and paid monthly subscriptions – A Partnership of Artists and Fan Investors.