BMG has announced that it is fully integrating its new release and catalog recordings businesses.
In doing so, the company claims to have become the first global music company to abandon what it calls “the outdated industry distinction” between new i.e ‘frontline’ and older releases i.e ‘catalog’ recordings.
The industry has historically defined ‘frontline’ as any release younger than 18 months old, while ‘catalog’ has counted as any music older than 18 months.
BMG says that the move reflects “the new reality of a streaming market in which older catalog recordings account for up to three-quarters of revenue”.
With immediate effect, BMG says that its recorded catalog will now report locally as per its country of origin and then globally through EVP Global Repertoire Fred Casimir for all sales outside the owning territory. This is the same structure the company uses for new, or so-called ‘frontline’ recordings.
BMG’s recorded catalog includes recordings from artists including Black Sabbath, The Kinks, Motörhead, Rick Astley, Mötley Crüe, Kylie Minogue, Chris Rea and Nick Cave among others.
“Music is music regardless of its age. Great artists and great music have no expiry date and we believe it is time for the music industry to reflect that.”
According to BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch, “music fans demonstrate on a daily basis that they reject the music industry’s outdated privileging of new music over older music”.
He added: “Music is music regardless of its age. Great artists and great music have no expiry date and we believe it is time for the music industry to reflect that.”
The change means that Casimir will now lead a team of around 90, responsible for marketing recordings around the world.
“There’s no great secret to BMG’s success. It’s about wrapping ourselves around artists’ needs and adjusting to the realities of the streaming world.”
Fred Casimir, BMG
Casimir first joined the new BMG in 2009 as Managing Director BMG Germany from sister Bertelsmann company FremantleMedia where he was responsible for all of its music-related businesses across Europe.
He became EVP Continental Europe in 2012, EVP Global Recordings and President Continental Europe in 2018, before taking up his current role as EVP Global Repertoire in 2019.
International success stories under Casimir’s leadership include projects from Louis Tomlinson, 5SOS, Lenny Kravitz, Katie Melua, Conkarah, Bryan Adams, Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue and LP, as well as the development of BMG’s films business including the David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream and the hit Lewis Capaldi documentary Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now, currently streaming on Netflix.
Fred Casimir said: “There’s no great secret to BMG’s success. It’s about wrapping ourselves around artists’ needs and adjusting to the realities of the streaming world.
“Successful music catalogs deserve the same effort, commitment and passion as newer recordings. I am delighted to take on responsibility for marketing BMG’s recorded catalog.”
Announcing the news in a note to BMG staff, CEO Hartwig Masuch wrote: “BMG was the first music company to recognize that in a streaming environment, older music would be relatively more important than it had ever been in the past. This is borne out by market statistics which show that the new release frontline business is down to 30% or less of streaming consumption.
“It is why we have invested heavily in classic repertoire and why the majority of our frontline new releases are by proven and established artists.
“But until now we have always followed industry practice in having a separate global reporting line for catalog recordings as opposed to frontline.
“This now changes. With immediate effect recorded catalog now reports locally as per its country of origin and then globally through EVP Global Repertoire Fred Casimir for all sales outside the owning territory.”
Added Masuch: “This marks a significant expansion of Fred’s responsibilities, and is a reflection of the success of the global frontline marketing team he created in 2018. He will now in addition be responsible for the global catalog marketing team and the London-based global licensing hub.
“It also means that on a local level, our repertoire leaders – Thomas Scherer in LA, Alistair Norbury in London etc – will uniquely in the music industry oversee music publishing and frontline and catalog recordings in their local territories.
“This makes good on our long-term plan to create the world’s first fully integrated music company, it empowers local leaders, it shortens reporting lines and it makes us more responsive for our artist and songwriter clients.”
“Congratulations to Fred and to all of our repertoire and marketing teams who continue to do such a great job.”Music Business Worldwide