Hartwig Masuch


Hartwig Masuch is the former Chief Executive Officer at BMG.

Based in Berlin, Masuch has worked in the music industry for more than 30 years.

He exited his role as CEO of BMG in July 2023, having spent 32 years at BMG parent Bertelsmann, and more than 14 years at BMG itself.

Hartwig Masuch: career before joining BMG

Masuch started out as a musician, freelance manager and producer.

He joined Warner Music Publishing (Germany) in 1985 as General Manager, Repertoire and was later promoted to General Manager & Vice President of Creative Affairs.

Hartwig Masuch: career at Bertelsmann and BMG

In 1991 Masuch was appointed Managing Director and Senior Vice President GSA at BMG Music Publishing.

When the publishing company was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2007, Masuch first worked as a consultant on the restructuring of Bertelsmann’s music business.

In October 2008 he was appointed CEO of BMG Rights Management, 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 catalog), and start again from scratch across both recorded music and music publishing.

After re-emerging as a Bertelsmann-owned independent in October 2008, under Masuch’s leadership, BMG developed from a start-up into the world’s fourth largest music rights company within four years. The company now bills itself as “the fourth major music company”.

In October 2016, Hartwig Masuch signed a new five-year deal with BMG parent Bertelsmann to stay on as CEO of the global music company.

The news of his new deal came less than two months after Masuch guided BMG to generate more than $200m in revenues in the first six months of 2016.

Hartwig Masuch:  acquisition strategy at BMG

Under Masuch’s leadership, BMG has swooped for publishing companies including Bug, Cherry Lane, Stage Three, ChrysalisPrimary Wave, Virgin Music and Talpa.

BMG became a serious global player in the recorded music space when it snapped up Sanctuary and Mute in 2013 for a reported combined price of £47m ($70m).

Other acquisitions since them have included Infectious, Vagrant, Union Square Music, Skint/Loaded, Rise Records, S-Curve and Atmospheriques.

In June 2016, Masuch told MBW of BMG’s recorded music ambitions: “It’s early days, but it is all going in the right direction. BMG is very serious about building a strong recordings business.

Hartwig Masuch on BMG’s ‘Fairness Agenda”

In October 2020, BMG announced that it is eliminating the Controlled Composition clause – a standard US record label deduction which serves to reduce the income of songwriters, composers and lyricists – from its US contracts.

Masuch commented at the time that “the Controlled Composition deduction is just one of a whole series of ways in which record labels have historically maximized their own profits at the expense of musicians”.

He added: “Eliminating this unfair practice is just the latest in a series of measures BMG is taking to make the music industry fairer to artists and songwriters.”

Masuch told MBW in April that BMG’s “fairness agenda… isn’t some kind of hobby, separate from our business strategy – it’s integral to it”.

The company subsequently announced in April that it would be speeding up payments to more than 20,000 US and UK songwriters on old contracts.

BMG said the move is “part of [our] program to ensure established clients are not left behind by changes in the industry”.Music Business Worldwide

Hartwig Masuch In The News

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