Romania’s Global Records is going even more global.
The Bucharest-headquartered music company, founded in 2008 by Lucian Ștefan, is expanding into Germany, the world’s fourth-largest recorded music market, with a new office and studios in central Berlin.
Global’s expansion into the market follows the recent news that Germany generated €1.056 billion (approx. $1.18bn), on a retail basis, from recorded music revenues in the first half of 2023.
Those revenues, from music streaming as well as from the sales of CDs, vinyl LPs and downloads, were up 6.6% YoY.
Global, which claims to be Eastern Europe’s biggest independent record label, boasts a catalog of over 5,500 songs and recordings combined. It operates seven labels that, combined, have generated more than 20 billion streams to date.
The company says that it’s on course to release over 550 tracks in 2023, having generated a total of 6.5 billion streams across YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music combined this year alone. Global Records, the company’s primary pop dance label, will account for around 5.5 billion of those streams.
In terms of revenues, the Global Group of Companies reports that it generated revenues of more than €25 million in 2022 and forecasts full-year revenues of €30 million for 2023, representing 20% YoY growth.
Having already achieved success with artists such as INNA and Minelli in the CEE region but also in countries and regions such as France, the Nordics, and Benelux, Diana Munteanu, Head of Label, Global Records, tells MBW that the ambition for the new Germany-based division is to “create a bridge between CEE and Western Europe”.
The company says that it has signed three new artists via the new division, including two from Germany and one from Italy. Global has also inked a new digital distribution deal with Believe Germany for the two labels operating in Global’s new Berlin office.
“While operating for the moment through our CEE teams in Bucharest, Warsaw, and Istanbul on the label side, and [Global’s] UK/US partners on the publishing side, we are actively working together with Julian to build our local German team,” says Munteanu.
“We live in a time when music tastes become more and more localized.”
Diana Munteanu, Global Records
Munteanu points to the ongoing trend of hyper-localization in music scenes across various markets in Europe, and notes that Global’s expansion on the continent will help it capitalize on this trend.
“We live in a time when music tastes [are becoming] more and more localized,” says Munteanu. “Apart from the international artists of the moment, audiences [find it easier] to connect to music in their own language and specific regional sound.”
Munteanu adds: “DSPs, TikTok, and even radio’s policies and algorithms have been actively supporting local talent for a while now. This has [influenced] the tastes of audiences and [accentuated] local specific sonic flavors.
“[As a company], we are always connecting great music with relevant featured artists, both from the East and West of Europe in order to create a solid bridge between territories.”
Here, Diana Munteanu, Head of Label at Global Records, and Julian-Dominik Vicari, the company’s new market head in Germany, explain why Global is expanding into the territory at this time, and what the company’s strategies are for the wider GSA region…
JULIAN, YOUR CAREER SO FAR INCLUDES TIME AT WARNER’S SPINNIN MUSIC AND SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT – WHAT MADE JOINING GLOBAL RECORDS AN ATTRACTIVE PROPOSITION FOR YOU, AND TELL US ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE YOU BRING TO THE ROLE?
Julian-Dominik Vicari: If you walk into any office of Global Records, you will experience it as a very vibrant, creative and inclusive space. That is a culture that we want to establish for staff, artists, partners, and all collaborators.
I instantly got the confirmation that our views on important topics regarding society, such as equality and diversity, as well as our vision for collaboration in today’s music industry are aligned.
“We’re very enthusiastic to be able to open up another one of these spaces in Berlin and take Global to the GSA region in collaboration with Believe Germany.”
We’re very enthusiastic to be able to open up another one of these spaces in Berlin and take Global to the GSA region in collaboration with Believe Germany.
A very unique and driven team will make this possible, and I’m thrilled to pick up the operations of the label in that region and contribute to the environment that makes Global Records a trusted partner and creative frontrunner for established and up-and-coming talent.
WHY HAS GLOBAL RECORDS DECIDED TO EXPAND INTO BERLIN/GERMANY AT THIS TIME?
Diana Munteanu: In the past two years we have organized extended international camps, inviting writers and producers that have scored numerous No.1 dance hits all over Europe. The result of these camps were not only great songs but also close partnerships with some of the most relevant independent publishers on a worldwide level.
These partnerships transformed into two JVs with the purpose of signing European DJs and offering them the best of both worlds: excellence in label services through the 90-plus people [across] teams working at Global Records and music composed by the most relevant players in the dance scene, sourced through the pipelines of the two publishers.
Dance music is what we and our artists live and breathe and Germany is, in our opinion, the perfect playground for it, with its multicultural audience, open club scene and numerous radio stations dedicated to a variety of genres and audiences. [It is] a true free market that embraces all genres, and cultures and has proven over the years to be a safe space for art in general.
WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE GROWTH OF THE GERMAN RECORDED MUSIC MARKET IN YEARS TO COME?
JV: The German recorded music market will continue to experience steady growth in the coming years. It is one of the most intriguing markets due to all its facets with the potential to grow more.
With the rise of new partners and platforms and new ways and tools for audiences to discover and consume music, the industry has a lot of potential to expand further in the GSA region.
“With the rise of new partners and platforms and new ways and tools for audiences to discover and consume music, the industry has a lot of potential to expand further in the GSA region.”
Without a doubt, there will be new opportunities but also significant challenges along the road, which we need to anticipate and for which we need to provide roadmaps. With the local imprint of Global Records and our staff and artists, we are well equipped to do so and we want to contribute to the market creatively, to keep it fragmented, non-centralized, and open for innovation, but also to mark our spot as the new kid on the block.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR THE MUSIC BUSINESS IN THE GERMAN MARKET?
JV: Multiple factors for the music business in the market keep things so interesting and offer potential. We are monitoring all developments closely and with an open mindset to identify trends to provide our artists with the best possible setup and ways to distribute and market their music to fans and new audiences.
If we look at the current top songs and popular artists in the market, no matter the chart, there is such variety with a wide range of genres and a mix of domestic and international repertoire. Great musical talent comes from literally all across the region and is eagerly waiting to be discovered.
It’s our mission to offer all the creative input from our staff and the best support system possible for the full-service experience. That being said, for the artists. I also want to focus on the professionals working in the GSA music market, who contribute to shaping that market every day. Global Records aims to add another layer to that.
HOW MUCH DOES GLOBAL RECORDS FORECAST TO HAVE SPENT ON A&R AND MARKETING THIS YEAR AND WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO SPEND IN GERMANY SPECIFICALLY?
DM: Historically, Global Records has consistently emphasized its investment strategy in the realm of A&R.
This commitment is exemplified through our extensive infrastructure, which comprises 13 cutting-edge studios in Bucharest and an additional two in Berlin. We have maintained a rigorous talent acquisition process, consistently recruiting the most skilled A&R professionals in the industry. This recruitment process is further refined through dedicated assessment centers and tailored induction programs.
Furthermore, we organize over 10 camps annually, including international ones in sought-after destinations such as Dubai, Ibiza or Croatia. These camps facilitate collaboration and creativity among our artists and producers. In addition, this year we have hosted more than 1,500 composition sessions in our home base studios, further underscoring our dedication to fostering musical excellence.
“Historically, Global Records has consistently emphasized its investment strategy in the realm of A&R.”
For example, if we are looking at the DJs signed this year for the German labels, the music they release has been the result of international camps with the likes of Rollo (Chari XCX, Ava Max, Noah Cyrus), Alma Goodman (Alesso, Katy Perry, R3HAB), Jonas Kroeper (Tiesto, Karol G, Lost Frequencies, Jonasu), Maia Wright (Armin Van Buuren), Jordan Shaw (Armin Van Buuren, Felix Jaehn, YouNotUs) – co-written Cool Kids (Jost), Sky Adams (Doja Cat, Sigala) and many more.
Also, the marketing budget almost doubled versus last year, if we also take into consideration the teams we employed in emerging or growing areas such as Short form content creation.Music Business Worldwide