Mamma Mia: How Universal Are Using Music from the 70’s to Build a 21st Century Business

Universal Picture’s ‘Mamma Mia! The Movie’ has just become the most successful film musical of all time with 2.25 million first day US sales and previously 1.6 million first day UK sales (which in per capita terms means that British sales were three and half times more successful.)  UK 1st week sales peaked at 3.5 million, over a third higher than that blockbuster Titanic.  Mamma Mia has also been seen by over 32 million people world wide and there are eight different theatre productions currently globally.

Why am I spending so much time spouting stats from a Universal press release?  Because this is one of the success stories of how the music industry is building a diversified future.  Universal Music has leveraged the asset of one of it catalogue artists across stage, screen and TV.  This is a best practice example not just for multi-platform syndication but also for leveraging the multiple distribution assets of a corporate media powerhouse.   EMI is the only major not to have the benefit of movie and home video entertainment arms to lean on.  But even without that support, EMI can look to the hugely successful Queen inspired We Will Rock You musical.

Being a music company might be getting increasingly difficult but the success of ‘Mamma Mia!’ is evidence that the music industry is already coming up with new ways to be successful in the 21st century, even if it is with music from the 1970’s.

As a postscript, Universal’s press release includes links to various YouTube ‘sing along’ clips. How times have changed since Doug Morris arguing that YouTube should be sued.

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