Virtual reality business EVR Holdings (LSE:EVRH) recovered some recent losses in morning trading today, bouncing 5.1pc to 7.8p after announcing a major tie-up with the world’s largest music publishing company. The firm has signed a multi-year agreement with Sony/ATB Music Publishing Europe to licence the distribution of the label’s music library via its flagship virtual reality music platform, MelodyVR. MelodyVR simulates the experience of being at a concert and allows fans to purchase digital tickets to sold-out, real-world events.
Sony/ATV offers a catalogue of more than 3m songs by classic artists such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones all the way to contemporary musicians like Kanye West and Ed Sheeran. As a result, EVR said the deal ‘significantly enhances’ MelodyVR’s library of original content. Anthony Matchett, executive chairman of EVR Holdings, added:
‘I’m very pleased to announce our European agreement with Sony/ATV, the world’s largest music publishing company. This agreement which covers music from many of the world’s top songwriters is vital to the success of our platform and we’re pleased to have entered into a long-term partnership.’
The positive impact that today’s news has had on EVR’s shares will no doubt come as music to the ears of investors, who have watched the former AIM-darling sink from 18p to below 10p since April. The fall, which began around the time of the launch of MelodyVR and a £20m fundraise to support EVR’s growth, comes despite the business securing a significant amount of backing from the music industry. Most recently, it entered into an agreement with Ansco Arena Limited, operator of the O2 arena London. It has also secured similar deals with NEC Group and Alexandra Palace. Likewise, it has also bagged multi-year agreements with Warner/Chappell Music and Big Machine Label Group, as well as six further publishers and record labels to bolster its music library.
Last week saw EVR release its six-month results for the period ended 30 June, reported revenues of £6,831 over the period, which, after subtracting the cost of sales (£218,197) and administrative expenses (£4,183,675), led to an operating loss of c.£4.4m. However, it is worth noting that the firm only launched MelodyVR in the US and Europe a matter of weeks before the end of the reporting period. As Matchett, put it:
‘With the launch of the MelodyVR platform occurring only a matter of weeks prior to the end of this reporting period, in tandem with the launch with the world’s first commercially viable standalone VR device, Facebook’s Oculus Go, revenue during the period has been influenced by the initially limited distribution and accessibility of Facebook’s VR Headset.
‘Whilst the MelodyVR platform has been available for only a limited period, I am pleased to report that our early metrics regarding user engagement and conversion rates are extremely encouraging and remain on track with management expectations; with over 72% of MelodyVR’s install base, now having utilised the platform to consume our content.’
Elsewhere, EVR reported that, as of 30 June 2018, it had cash and cash equivalents of c.£26.1m to fund its future expansion and development. At the current rate of cash burn, it anticipates that this will provide more than 24 months of funding.
As we wrote recently, the current weakness in EVR’s shares will do little to win over those who believe the company is fundamentally overvalued. Even after its recent decline, it has a market cap of nearly £100m despite only revenues only just beginning to trickle in.
However, it may present an attractive buying opportunity for those who buy into forecasts of a boom in the VR sector over coming years and EVR’s plans to take advantage through of it in the music and concert space. EVRtrulyis a speculative punt if there ever was one, but deals like that secured today appear to indicate that the firm has plenty of support from major players in the areas that matter.