BMG, the world’s fourth biggest music rights-holder, saw its revenues increase 10.1% to €600m ($674m) in 2019.
That’s according to a new annual report from the firm’s Germany-based parent, Bertelsmann, which further reveals that BMG’s operating EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) stood at €138m ($155m) in the year.
That operating EBITDA was up 13.1% on the prior year’s haul of €122m, and represented a profit margin of 23.0% (up on 22.5% in 2018).
Impressively, BMG’s Euro-level revenues in 2019 (€600m) were up by 61.7% on the equivalent annual figure from as recently as 2015.
Exactly half of BMG’s annual revenues (€300m / $337m) last year were generated in the United States, with the UK its second most lucrative territory (€99m / $111m).
Some €46m ($52m) was generated in Germany, with a further €34m ($38m) in France and €65m ($73m) in other (non-UK) European territories.
BMG generated €53m ($60m) in countries outside of the United States, UK and Europe in 2019.
The company had an average of 883 global employees during 2019, with 904 at year end.
BMG spent €80m ($90m) on investments in 2019 – including, obviously, the acquisition of rights – versus €107m in 2018.
“In the recordings business, BMG outpaced the market’s growth in key territories such as the United Kingdom, where album sales were up nearly 12% in a declining market, and the United States, where its music streaming business grew 62%, nearly three times as much as the industry as a whole.”
The share of BMG’s total revenues (across publishing and records) attributable to digital formats rose to 56% in 2019, up on 52% in 2018.
Bertelsmann’s annual report, issued today (March 24) names BMG’s expansion in Asia – via the opening of a new HQ in Hong Kong – as an operational highlight in 2019, in addition to other expansions in Latin America and Canada.
It adds: “In the recordings business, BMG outpaced the market’s growth in key territories such as the United Kingdom, where album sales were up nearly 12% in a declining market, and the United States, where its music streaming business grew 62%, nearly three times as much as the industry as a whole.”
Successful recorded music releases for BMG in 2019, says Bertelsmann, included those by artists such as Jason Aldean, Blanco Brown, Keith Richards, Dido, The Cranberries, Andy Grammer, AJR and Lil Dicky.
BMG also signed new record contracts with The Shires, Natalie Imbruglia, Rufus Wainwright, KSI, Huey Lewis & The News, Seeed and Richard Marx, among others.
Country star Jason Aldean renewed his contract to be represented worldwide by BMG in the period.
No.1 albums for BMG’s recorded music division last year included those by Kylie Minogue, Jack Savoretti and Kontra K.
Bertelsmann’s report continues: “In the publishing business, BMG’s distinctive focus on established artists such as AC/DC, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith continued to pay off. In the year under review, they made significant contributions to revenues.”
No.1 albums for BMG’s publishing division last year included those by Bring Me The Horizon, Juice WRLD, 21 Savage and Johannes Oerding, while singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi not only scored a No.1 album but also a Grammy-nominated No.1 single (Someone You Loved).
Among the most prominent signings for BMG’s publishing division were Neil Finn from Crowded House, Cage The Elephant, KSI, LOCASH and AnnenMayKantereit.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards renewed and expanded their contracts with BMG. Kontra K will also be represented by BMG on the publishing side from now on, says Bertelsmann, beyond his existing recordings deal.
[All 2019 EUR to USD conversions made at an average annual rate of $1.123 = €1, as confirmed in Vivendi’s recent yearly report]Music Business Worldwide