BMG revenues jump 29% in first nine months of 2017 despite acquisition slowdown

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BMG has posted 29% year-on-year revenue growth for the first nine months of this year – with CEO Hartwig Masuch telling MBW that the increase has largely been down to organic performance.

The news arrived with BMG parent Bertelsmann’s interim financial update today (November 9).

Although no further details were given about BMG’s revenues to end of September, we can take a rough stab at the number – knowing that, the first six months of 2017, BMG’s sales grew 28% to €233m ($277m).

Considering the company’s full-year revenues for 2016 hit €416m ($450m) you’d expect its nine month sales in 2017, with a 29% jump on the prior year, to land somewhere above €350m ($400m+).

That puts BMG firmly on course to smash past the $500m barrier in its annual 2017 financials.

There are a couple of very interesting facts about this 29% rise in revenues:

  • (i) It represents significantly higher percentage growth than any of the major music companies this year, although UMG, Sony and Warner will all turn over multi-billion dollar revenues in 2017;
  • (ii) BMG has achieved this jump despite a significant slowdown in the number of acquisitions it’s made this year.

Point two was confirmed by BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch speaking to MBW today.

The context behind the decrease is made extra intriguing in the wake of Canadian rights company ole reportedly failing to sell for a target $600m price-tag in recent weeks.

Masuch told MBW: “For BMG still to be achieving 29% year-on-year growth is pretty incredible. We are continuing to grow faster than both the market and the competition.”

He added: “It is all the more remarkable when we have notably slowed our rate of acquisition in response to price inflation.

“Growth is important, but it has to be sustainable and it has to be profitable. There is a real danger with investors piling into the market that some people will get their fingers burned.”

“There is a real danger with investors piling into the market that some people will get their fingers burned.”

Hartwig Masuch, BMG

The price inflation Masuch refers to has seen publishing companies sold for unusually high multiples this year – including the acquisition of Imagem Music by Concord Music for more than $500m, and the buyout of Carlin Music in a near-$250m deal by Round Hill Music.

BMG’s highlights on the publishing side in Q3 included DJ Khaled US No.1 album, Grateful – and his huge hit with ‘Wild Thoughts’ (feat Rihanna, pictured).

There was also Despacito, co-written by BMG writer Poo Bear, which officially became the second longest-running Number One hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in Q3.

Elsewhere, publishing client Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic officially certified double-platinum in the US, while Chrissie Hynde signed her song catalog to BMG.

In terms of recorded music, BMG’s highlights in Q3 included Gary Numan entering the UK album chart at No.2, his best-charting album since 1980 with Savage (Songs From A Broken World).

Elsewhere, the company signed Boy George and The Prodigy, while announcing its first album from Morrissey, Low In High School.Music Business Worldwide

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