BMG

Billing itself as “the fourth major music company”, BMG has certainly become one of the global music industry’s biggest players since re-emerging as a Bertelsmann-owned independent in October 2008.

The ‘new’ BMG, led by CEO Hartwig Masuch, emerged following Bertelsmann’s decision to sell off its 50% stake in Sony-BMG to Sony Corp for $1.2 billion in August 2008.

That saw BMG let go of a hugely influential (and valuable cataog), and start again from scratch across both recorded music and music publishing.

Its quickened its growth with a string of acquisitions in the music publishing space, including buyouts of catalogs from companies like Bug, Cherry Lane, Stage Three, Chrysalis, Primary Wave, Virgin Music and Talpa.

On the recorded music side, BMG has acquired indie labels/label catalogs including the likes of Union Square, Mute, Sanctuary, Vagrant, S-Curve, Rise and, more recently, hip-hop specialist RBC.

From four years from 2009 onwards, the investment firm KKR owned 51% of BMG, with Bertelsmann a minority partner, but in 2013, Bertelsmann bought out KKR’s stake to take 100% control of the music company.

In early 2017, Bertelsmann-owned BMG made its largest recorded music acquisition to date, when it bought Nashville-based Broken Bow Music Group (BBMG) for just over $100m.

Since that Broken Bow acquisition, BMG has focused more on growing organically. Its publishing repertoire now includes more than 3 million songs, representing writers including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Bruno Mars, Jessie Reyez, Bring Me The Horizon and Poo Bear.

In 2019, BMG’s company-wide global revenues increased 10.1% year-on-year to €600m ($674m).

Exactly half of BMG’s annual revenues in the year (€300m / $337m) were generated in the United States, with the UK its second most lucrative territory (€99m / $111m).Music Business Worldwide