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BMG Rights Management

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BMG Rights Management GmbH
PredecessorBertelsmann Music Group
FoundedOctober 2008; 11 years ago (2008-10)
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Hartwig Masuch (CEO)
Zach Katz (US)
Alistair Norbury (UK)
Dominique Kulling (Germany)
Stéphane Berlow (France)
Albert Slendebroek (Benelux)
Dino Stewart (Italy)
Pablo Rodríguez (Spain)
Sanken Sandqvist (Scandinavia)
Heath Johns (Australia)
ServicesMusic rightsmanagement
Revenue545,000,000 euro (2018) Edit this on Wikidata
Number of employees
Footnotes / references
Distributed by Warner Music Group, ADA, Sony Music, Good2Go, Absolute Label Services, and PIAS

BMG Rights Management GmbH is an international music company focused on the management of music publishing, recording rights and music distribution. The company operates as a division of the international media conglomerate Bertelsmann. The company was established in 2008 as a joint venture between Bertelsmann and the global private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). In March 2013, Bertelsmann took over BMG by acquiring KKR's shares, making BMG a fully owned subsidiary of the Bertelsmann group.[1][2] The company's head office is in Berlin, and it operates regional offices in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, London, Madrid, Paris, Stockholm, Hilversum, Milan, Beijing, Toronto, Sydney, and São Paulo. BMG is the youngest and fourth-largest major international company in the music industry, with over 2.5 million compositions and recordings in its library.[3]

Artists currently signed to BMG Rights Management include Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Avril Lavigne, Dido, Lenny Kravitz, Fergie, Evanescence, Nickelback, Blondie, The Prodigy and blink-182.


The formation of the company was first announced on October 1, 2008 shortly following Bertelsmann's sale of its music interests from the 1986 founded Bertelsmann Music Group to Sony Music Entertainment. As compensation, Bertelsmann kept the rights to master recordings by 200 artists. BMG opened its first offices in January 2009 in Paris, London, Milan, Madrid, and Amsterdam, with headquarters in Berlin.[4] The company trades under the name BMG Chrysalis in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Sweden. BMG in 2010 made its biggest acquisition at the time with the purchase of Cherry Lane Music, whose clients included Elvis Presley, John Denver, and the Black Eyed Peas. The acquisition gave BMG a major presence in the U.S.[5]

In 2012, BMG was the fourth-largest music publisher in the world, based on revenue.[3] BMG acquired Sanctuary Records and Mute Records from Universal Music Group for over €45 million in February 2013[6] and the deal was approved by the EU in May 2013.[7] The previous BMG had distributed Sanctuary in certain territories, while Universal owned Mute briefly after its acquisition of the recorded-music assets of EMI. Soon after acquiring Mute and Sanctuary, BMG arranged for INgrooves to distribute those catalogues in North America, and Play It Again Sam for the rest of the world. However, Depeche Mode (Mute) will be distributed through Sony Music Entertainment, while Black Sabbath (Sanctuary) remained at Universal Music Group until March 2014.[8]

In 2014, it was the most successful music publisher in Germany and received 53 Grammy nominations,[9] that year BMG signed multi-platinum selling group Day26. In November 2014, BMG acquired Union Square Music.[10][11][12]

BMG completed the purchase of Oregon-based metal and hard rock label Rise Records, home to The Devil Wears Prada, Of Mice & Men, and PVRIS in 2015,[13][14] also, the Berlin-based company became the 5th biggest recorded music company in the UK.[15] In April 2016, BMG signed a distribution deal with Warner Music Group, which will cover most of BMG's catalogue and future releases; though a few albums will remain distributed by other labels.[16] On March 7, 2017, BMG announced that it would transfer the worldwide distribution rights to 95,000 tracks and 8,000 albums to Warner's Alternative Distribution Alliance division.[17]

At the end of May 2016, BMG expanded into Brazil by acquiring the local publisher Basement Music.[18] In July 2016, BMG completed two major acquisitions. First, BMG announced the acquisition of the recording assets of The End Records, a New York-based independent label. As part of the deal, BMG acquired the label's entire catalogue, as well as its rights to future recordings.[19] Second, BMG acquired the 131-year-old Australian music publishing and recording company Alberts.[20][21]

In April 2017, BMG entered the book publishing business when it released The Odessey: The Zombies in Words and Images. The company then published The Sake of Heaviness: the History of Metal Blade Records, written by the label's founder Brian Slagel, on August 29, 2017.[22] The company released the autobiography of rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson on November 14, 2017, and expects to publish a book by Barney Hoskyns.[23]

In December 2017, BMG expanded into film production. A documentary about Joan Jett, titled Bad Reputation, will premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, distributed by Magnolia Pictures.[24]


BMG works in the field of administration and management of musical copyrights. It acts as broker between the creative community and the professional users in times of multiple digital exploitation and distribution. BMG offer artists and producers assistance to administer, manage, develop, market and exploit their copyrights globally. The company devotes a percentage of its funds developing new talent.[25] BMG UK senior vice-president Alexi Cory-Smith commented that "The music business has changed. Writers want a new alternative. BMG Chrysalis is proving it has the resources, the technology and the creative vision to provide that alternative".[26]

Since 2012, BMG expanded in the administration and management of master recording rights by establishing the BMG masters model. The model is based on both artist and company jointly contributing toward distribution and promotional finances, while the company generally does not pay an advance against royalties; this allows for the recording contract to grant a higher royalty rate to the recording artist than more traditional arrangements.[27]

Subsidiaries and artists

The company has bought many music publishers and record labels. It has also signed numerous artists.

Music publishers

Production music

BMG has a significant library of production music (library music), for use in films, television, advertising, and other media. This was acquired through various acquisitions in the 2010s, including MusicDIRECTOR (part of Talpa Music), Music Beyond, X-Ray Dog, Beds & Beats, Immediate Music,[32], AXS Music,[33] Altitude Music, and Must Save Jane.[34]

Sub-publishing deals



See also


  1. ^ Bertelsmann Buys Out BMG for $390M: Sources. Billboard (2013-03-01). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  2. ^ "Thomas Rabe, CEO of BMG parent Bertelsmann, signs new deal: Sources". Music Business Worldwide (2016-01-27). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  3. ^ a b Billboard Power 100: Hartwig Masuch | Billboard. (2012-01-26). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  4. ^ Spahr, Wolfgang (14 October 2008). "Bertelsmann Unveils BMGRightsManagement". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2009-12-12. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  5. ^ BMGRightsManagement To Acquire Cherry Lane. Billboard.(2010-03-26). Retrieved on 2016-07-16.
  6. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. (2013-02-14). "Universal Music agrees to sell Sanctuary Records". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ EC approves BMG acquisition of Mute and Sanctuary catalogues. Music Week. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  8. ^ News | BMG Music RightsManagement. (2013-06-25). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  9. ^ Bertelsmann Posts Revenue Gains, CEO Talks BMG's Alibaba Deal: 'You Can't Make Money With CDs in China': Sources. Billboard (2015-03-31). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  10. ^ BMG Acquires Union Square Music. Retrieved on November 4, 2014
  11. ^ BMG Purchases Union Square Music: Sources. Billboard (2014-11-06). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  12. ^ BMG ACQUIRES UK CATALOGUE SPECIALIST UNION SQUARE MUSIC: Sources. Music Business Worldwide (2014-11-04). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  13. ^ BMG Buys Metal Label Rise Records: Sources. Billboard. Retrieved on July 19, 2016
  14. ^ BMG ACQUIRES US LABEL RISE RECORDS IN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR DEAL: Sources. Music Business Worldwide (2015-05-18). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  15. ^ "Hartwig Masuch: 7 years of the 'new' BMG has been 'a force for good'". Music Business Worldwide (2015-10-02). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  16. ^ "Warner signs BMG deal for exclusive worldwide distribution of catalogue - Music Business Worldwide". 19 April 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ BMG Acquires New York Indie The End Records: Sources. Music Week (2016-07-01). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  20. ^ BMG acquires Australian publishing and recording company Alberts: Sources. Music Week (2016-07-05). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  21. ^ Oz Music Institution Alberts Has Been Bought By BMG: Sources. (2016-07-05). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Music Week. Music Week. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  27. ^ "BMG: Dexys' release shows artists want alternatives to 'old-style record deals'". MusicWeek. 2012-03-07.
  28. ^ "BMGRightsManagement to Purchase Bug Music". Billboard. 2011-09-12.
  29. ^ "BMG and Warner Music Said to Weigh Bid for Chrysalis". The New York Times. 2010-11-04.
  30. ^ a b c BMG Buys Virgin, Famous Music Catalog From Sony/ATV. The Hollywood Reporter (2012-12-21). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  31. ^ "BMGRightsManagement Purchases R2M Music Lux SARL Catalog". Billboard. 2012-03-02.
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ "BMG BRINGS TOGETHER 400,000 PRODUCTION MUSIC TRACKS UNDER ONE BRAND". Music Business Worldwide. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  35. ^ "BMG signs Emerson, Lake & Palmer global catalogue deal - Music Business Worldwide". 26 November 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  36. ^ "Buddy Holly's Widow Entrusts BMG With the Rock Icon's Catalog, Image". Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ Faughnder, Ryan. (2013-06-26) BMG to represent Rolling Stones' publishing post-1983. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  40. ^

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