Once upon a time – from around 2008 to around 2015 – BMG was arguably the most acquisitive company in the music rights space.
That’s all changed in recent years, with BMG largely retreating from an M&A marketplace that has seen heavily-funded entrants such Hipgnosis Songs Fund, Round Hill, and Primary Wave keep on raising big money… and keep on spending it.
Indeed, MBW understands that it’s been nearly three years since BMG made a large-scale full acquisition in music rights. Instead, the company has switched its focus to organic growth, with positive results: after years of consecutive double-digit increases, BMG half-year revenues rose again to $308m in the first six months of the pandemic-hit 2020.
Today, though, BMG has announced its return to the acquisition table – and shown the music industry that it still has the resources to make serious music buyouts now and again.
Bertelsmann-owned BMG has confirmed that it has outright acquired Mick Fleetwood’s royalty interest in over 300 recordings, including all of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits.
An important distinction: this doesn’t mean BMG has acquired the underlying master rights to classic catalog albums like Rumours and Tango In The Night, which are owned by Warner Music Group.
“If this partnership is any indication of my past, and now future, working relationship with BMG, it’s that they truly ‘get it’.”
However, it does mean that, from now on, whenever certain records by Fleetwood Mac make money, then BMG makes money. (The BMG acquisition includes Mick Fleetwood’s interest in all of Fleetwood Mac’s recorded works, apart from their first two albums.)
As a result, BMG will participate in the aftermath of the global viral success of Dreams on TikTok, which generated over 3.2 billion views/streams globally during an eight-week period in the second half of 2020.
Other Fleetwood Mac hits covered by the deal include recordings such as The Chain, Go Your Own Way, and Landslide from albums including Fleetwood Mac (1975), Rumours (1977) and Tango In The Night (1987).
Today’s news continues something of a sell-off trend within Fleetwood Mac’s ranks: In December, Stevie Nicks sold an 80% stake in her publishing rights to Primary Wave for around $80m, while earlier this month, Lindsey Buckingham sold 100% of his song rights to Hipgnosis Songs Fund for an undisclosed fee.
Mick Fleetwood said, “This is a wonderfully inspiring marriage between two creative partners that understand all aspects of the business. Foremost, BMG understands the artistry and puts the artist first. If this partnership is any indication of my past, and now future, working relationship with BMG, it’s that they truly ‘get it’.”
“Mick Fleetwood is the bedrock of one of the greatest bands in rock, he has a unique talent to bring together musicians of all genres – and of course he is one of rock’s greatest drummers.”
Hartwig Masuch, BMG
The BMG acquisition strengthens an ongoing relationship between Fleetwood and the company, which includes the theatrical, record and mediabook release of Mick Fleetwood & Friends – 2020’s star-studded tribute event to legendary guitarist Peter Green and the early years of Fleetwood Mac.
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “Mick Fleetwood is the bedrock of one of the greatest bands in rock, he has a unique talent to bring together musicians of all genres – and of course he is one of rock’s greatest drummers. BMG is proud to represent his greatest work and excited about the forthcoming launch of Mick Fleetwood & Friends.”
The sale of Mick Fleetwood’s recorded interests was brokered by the artist’s manager Carl Stubner of Shelter Music Group, a company which itself became an internal partner at BMG last year.
Said Stubner: “For over 50 years Mick’s works continue to be introduced to legions of new fans while BMG continues to ensure its artists are paid their fair share. In an industry not always known to look after its iconic artists, BMG continues to maximize their income streams.”
“In an industry not always known to look after its iconic artists, BMG continues to maximize their income streams.”
Carl Stubner, Shelter Music Group
BMG EVP Group Strategy and M&A Justus Haerder said, “This acquisition highlights the value of timeless recordings in a streaming market which is increasingly benefitting established rather than newer artists. While recent acquisition activity in the music market has focused on music publishing, this is a pure recorded investment which will get the full benefit of streaming growth.
“Catalogs such as Fleetwood Mac’s which connect with every generation are benefiting disproportionately from that growth.”
“This acquisition highlights the value of timeless recordings in a streaming market which is increasingly benefitting established rather than newer artists.”
Justus Haerder, BMG
Mick Fleetwood formed Fleetwood Mac with John ‘Mac’ McVie in 1967 with guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. The band hit their stride with their third album Then Play On with hit singles ‘Albatross’ and ‘Man Of The World’, but the band fell apart amid substance issues and relationship problems.
Their golden period began in July 1975 with a new line-up and the release of Fleetwood Mac, their first US Number One. It was followed by a string of classics including Rumours, Tusk, Mirage, Tango In The Night and The Dance. Fleetwood Mac have sold more than 120m records worldwide and were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998.Music Business Worldwide