Music Stocks Rise on Positive Inflation News

Many music companies’ stocks soared on Thursday (Nov. 10) on news that U.S. inflation was less than expected in October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the consumer price index rose 0.4% last month, less than the 0.6% Dow Jones estimate. Although the annual inflation is still high at 7.7%, it had been as high as 9.1% in June and hadn’t been below 7.5% since January.  

Spotify shares jumped 9.9% to $78.44. Universal Music Group shares rose 3.3% to 20.81 euros. Sony shares spiked 6.6% to $44.15.  

Live music companies fared especially well: U.S.-based Live Nation and MSG Entertainment improved 5.1% and 6.6%, respectively, while German promoter CTS Eventim climbed 3.8%. Ticketing companies Eventbrite and Vivid Seats rose 8.3% and 9.2%, respectively.  

Radio company stocks, recently hurt by the softening advertising market, enjoyed the biggest gains as iHeartMedia was up 10.0% and Audacy rose 14.0%. Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media had smaller gains of 3.3% and 2.5%, respectively.  

U.S. stocks had their biggest single days since 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a group of 30 prominent stocks, rose 3.7%. The S&P 500 improved 5.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 7.4%.  

The good news quickly spread to Asia after U.S. markets closed. Shares of South Korean music companies HYBE and SM Entertainment were up 8.3% and 4.5%, respectively, early on Friday morning. Likewise, the Hang Seng Index, a selection of companies on the Hong Kong Exchange, was up 5.0% in early trading Friday.  

Persistently high prices have had damaging effects to economies of the U.S. and other countries re-opening from COVID-19 restrictions. Businesses have encountered higher costs for labor, manufacturing and services, and often pass them along to consumers rather than absorb them. Everything from vinyl manufacturing costs to tour buses have soared. Some bands, such as Anthrax and Cold, pulled out of tours because of logistical issues and high costs. “There are tours being canceled left and right,” Jamie Streetman, operations manager for Nashville-based Coach Quarters, told Billboard in Sept.  

To tame inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, which targets 2% annual inflation, has raised the federal funds rate six times in 2022 to tame inflation. That has made borrowing more expensive for everyone from investors in music publishing catalogs to consumers with credit card bills.  

The pairing of high interest-high inflation has wreaked havoc on stock prices, too. Year to date, the Dow index is down 7.2% and the S&P 500 is off 17.0%. Music companies that are otherwise having a solid year have seen their share prices sink, too. UMG shares are down 16.0% and Spotify shares are off 66.5% this year.  

While investors celebrated the improvement in the CPI, inflation is still abnormally high and energy costs – a significant cost for touring musicians – were up 17.6% year-over-year in October. Presidents of the Federal Reserve indicated on Thursday that more rate hikes would probably be forthcoming, although at a slower pace.  

Glenn Peoples