'It's a really sweet spot': BMG's Hartwig Masuch on its recorded music strategy

'It's a really sweet spot': BMG's Hartwig Masuch on its recorded music strategy

Hartwig Masuch has opened up about his vision for BMG during a keynote at the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) AGM - the first time a global music CEO has spoken at the event.

Speaking to a trade body whose members comprise both physical and digital retail, Masuch had positive words for both sides. He even went so far as to predict a physical revival at a time when CD sales are in decline.

“We think there is potential for growth after plateauing,” said Masuch. “That has to do with redefining the characteristics of physical media. It will be less price sensitive than it has over recent years.”

He added: “The love for culture in the UK is expressed a lot more than in other territories.”

Of course, BMG’s strategy is based on signing artists who still have a physical music audience. As well as success with Kylie Minogue this year, the company previewed a big Q4 with releases from The Prodigy, Seasick Steve, Cypress Hill, Echo And The Bunnymen, Avril Lavigne, Richard Ashcroft and Boy George & Culture Club.

While other record labels may have looked to more track-based streaming opportunities, BMG has built a roster of established album artists whose careers, at least in some cases, perhaps needed a little more love and attention.

We have a presence in every single market that makes us increasingly geared to recorded music

Hartwig Masuch

Hartwig said the company had made a “serious effort to reintroduce the relevance of these artists”.

“We’ve found out it’s a really sweet spot,” he said.

His pro-physical strategy was music to the ears of many in the room at the Curzon Soho. ERA has been active in both Record Store Day and National Album Day, which launches next month.

“We invest in the physical relevance of our artists,” said Masuch.

He added that audiovisual content and products were a “very relevant path for a music company going forward”.

While the company emerged from Sony BMG a decade ago to focus on publishing rights, the recent half-year results showed major revenue growth in recorded music.

“We have a presence in every single market that makes us increasingly geared to recorded music,” said Masuch.

BMG’s revenue split is around 50:50 for recorded music and publishing. Masuch anticipated that the former could advance to around 60%.

BMG has recently signalled plans to focus on organic growth, following comments by Masuch in a Music Week cover story earlier this year. However, the company is still making acquisitions, with LA hip-hop label RBC Records the latest to become part of the BMG family.

 

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