Concord keeps faith with Imagem as it eyes further acquisitions

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Concord Bicycle Music might be one of the fastest-growing businesses in entertainment right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s consolidating everything it ingests.

The company acquired Netherlands-based Imagem Music Group (and its 250,000 copyrights) in June for $500m+ – a move which firmly established Concord as a ‘mini-major’ rightsholder alongside BMG.

And according to Concord CEO Scott Pascucci (pictured), the firm sees the buyout as a powerful platform for further expansion – with almost no redundancies planned as a result of the transaction.

“We’ve all been so conditioned by the events of the last 20 years that, whenever there’s a large acquisition in the music business, we assume there has to be a negative story to go along with it,” he tells MBW. “That just doesn’t have to be the case anymore.

“Our acquisition of Imagem is a good merger of two companies, and a positive thing for everybody. We want to be a big, successful music company and this is a big step in that mission.”


The Imagem buy brings a wealth of classical (Boosey & Hawkes) as well as theatrical music works (Rodgers & Hammerstein) under Concord’s management.

Combined with Imagem’s pop catalogue – which includes songs by the likes of Phil Collins, Mark Ronson, Pink Floyd and Daft Punk – Concord Bicycle Music now finds itself in control of more than 380,000 musical works.

Concord publishing boss Jake Wisely says: “We recently met with everybody at Imagem’s London office to reinforce that the new world is one of security and confidence.

“We’re very direct on this: [Imagem] is a great fit, not an opportunity to eliminate headcount.”

Jake Wisely, Concord Bicycle Music

“Concord Bicycle Music have a ‘go and grow’ mentality right now. The Imagem deal allows us to synergize with our recorded music side more, as well as exciting our creative teams to think in new terms.

“We’re very direct on this: this is a great fit, not an opportunity to eliminate headcount.”


Concord’s Imagem acquisition arrives amid heated interest in music rights, both across the traditional major music companies – Universal, Sony and Warner – as well as newer players like Concord, Primary Wave and BMG.

There is also increasing interest from private equity funds managed outside the music business, which hasn’t escaped Pascucci’s attention.

“If the right opportunity came along, there’s no question we’re in a position to [acquire more],” he says.

“The right opportunities are probably less frequent right now than they were a few years ago, but they still exist – and we continue to be interested in growing our business.”

Scott Pascucci, Concord Bicycle Music

“The question is, what other opportunity is there of [Imagem’s] size? I’m not aware of one right now.”

Adds Pascucci: “Music publishing [valuations] have definitely been elevated over the past few years, but the multiples are also going up in recorded music. We’ve made a number of strategic recorded music acquisitions at an opportune time and we’re very happy with them.

“The right opportunities are probably less frequent right now than they were a few years ago, but they still exist – and we continue to be interested in growing our business.”


These escalating copyright valuations are ultimately being caused, of course by promising signs in the recorded music business.

The US market looks on course to post its second year of double-digit trade revenue growth in 2017, while the UK market’s retail value was up 11.2% in the first half of this year.

“Things are looking very positive, so long as we don’t trip ourselves up up by getting too arrogant as an industry.”

Glen Barros, Concord Bicycle Music

Concord’s COO Glen Barros tells MBW: “Things are looking very positive, so long as we don’t trip ourselves up up by getting too arrogant as an industry.

“The growth is going to be driven by streaming, but streaming isn’t the only way to stimulate demand out there: the high-end physical side is a big opportunity. It’s about reaching consumers more directly and it’s driven by a new way to access music.”


After merging with The Bicycle Music Company and raising $100m in 2015, Concord acquired the likes of Fearless Records and Wind-Up Records while signing a worldwide JV with US indie Razor & Tie.

It’s also bought the likes of Americana/folk/blues specialist HighTone Records – having secured major artist licensing deals with R.E.M and others.

Meanwhile, it’s just locked down the seven-figure buyout of valuable assets from Warner Music.

Such rapid expansion has led some to suggest that Concord Bicycle Music – which is part-owned by Barings Alternative Investments – is fattening up for its own lucrative sale down the line.

“We’ve been waiting for that crucial moment of inflection where you see the music business resume sustainable growth. We think it’s here.”

Jim Selby, Concord Bicycle Music

Don’t be so sure.

“Contrary to what others may speculate, the Imagem [deal] is about building a company for the long-term,” says Concord GM Jim Selby.

“We’ve been waiting for that crucial moment of inflection where you see the music business resume sustainable growth. We think it’s here.

“For the Imagem staff, the uncertainty that company faced for a while has now been removed.

“Our job now is to figure out how we can all work better together while maintaining our independence – and taking advantage of the scale we’re building.”Music Business Worldwide

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