Music

BLACKPINK’s YG Renewal & Spotify Layoffs Help Lead Billboard Global Music Index to New High

If YG Entertainment’s re-signing of all four BLACKPINK members is any indication, investors can worry less about K-pop companies’ ability to retain their artists. 

YG Entertainment gained 17.2% this week to 59,300 won ($45.00) as investors reacted to news that the four members of BLACKPINK signed to new, exclusive contracts with the agency. (The share price rose 29% the morning the announcement was made.) Uncertainty about contract renewals had caused the company’s share price to decline 16% in the week ended Sept. 22, as news reports out of South Korea said three BLACKPINK members would leave YG and spend just six months out of the year with the group. At the time, the company denied the news and insisted that the deals were still being discussed. 

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The BLACKPINK renewal appeared to have a positive impact on the stocks of other K-pop companies. Shares of HYBE gained 12.3% to 237,500 won ($180.24), while SM Entertainment shares rose 3.6% to 88,200 won ($66.94). Those improvements far exceeded the 0.5% gain posted by South Korea’s KOSPI composite index.

The Billboard Global Music Index gained 2.2% to a record 1,481.56, surpassing the previous high of 1,426.49 set four weeks earlier. That brought the index’s year-to-date gain to 26.9%. Half of the index’s 20 stocks finished the week in positive territory. 

This week’s 2.2% gain outpaced major indexes around the world. In the United States, the Nasdaq improved 0.7% to 14,403.97 while the S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,604.37, reaching an all-time high of 4,609.23 on Friday (Dec. 8). In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 gained 0.3% to 7,554.47. 

Spotify was the biggest contributor to the Billboard Global Music Index’s gain this week. The streaming company — the largest component of the 20-company, float-adjusted index — enjoyed a double-digit increase this week, gaining 9.6% to $198.05 after Monday’s news the company will lay off 17% of its workers. Following Thursday’s news that CFO Paul Vogel will leave the company in March 2024, Spotify shares rose 1.1% on Friday. 

Another stock to react to financial news was Sphere Entertainment Co., which announced the sale of $225 million in convertible senior notes that mature in 2028. That sent the company’s shares down 15.5%, but the stock recovered most of its losses and finished the week down only 5.3% to $32.66. Following the debt announcement, Sphere Entertainment was upgraded by Seaport to a “buy” with a $38 price target, representing a 16.4% upside over Friday’s closing price. U2 concerts were doing $500,000 more per show than expected and the $99 average ticket price to the Darren Aronofsky film Postcard From Earth was above analysts’ $84 estimate. 

The smallest stock on the index, Abu Dhabi-based music streamer Anghami, dropped 41.3% to $1.35 without any regulatory filings or other news. The stock was trading below $1.00 per share as recently as Nov. 15 but jumped to $3.49 on Nov. 21 on trading volume of 57.7 million shares, or about 50 times the daily average. 

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