BMG revenues soared in 2017 as it looks to take on the majors

Hartwig Masuch

Two weeks ago, BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch told Music Week his company was looking to take on the majors on all fronts. Now the latest figures from BMG’s parent company Bertelsmann show that revenues are soaring at the publishing and records group.

In its latest financial figures, Bertelsmann singles out BMG as one of its star divisions, helping its overall revenues rise 1.4% to €17.2 billion (£15.1bn). Of that, BMG chipped in €507m (£445m), up from €416m (£365m) in 2016, a rise of 21.8%. Its international (ie ex-Germany) performance was particularly strong, with revenues rising from €385m (£338m) to €474m (£416m), a rise of 23.1%.

Bertelsmann flagged that organic growth hit 18.5% as BMG switches from its policy of expansion by acquisition to concentrating on growing its existing publishing and recorded music assets.

The report said BMG “benefited from the acquisition of the country label BBR Music Group, from prominent artist signings and chart successes, and a continuing upturn in the recorded music industry fuelled by streaming and new emerging markets”. Its revenue rise was put down to “higher revenues across all market segments and regions through organic growth and acquisition, especially in the recorded music business and in the British, US and Australian publishing business”.

In our recent cover story, Masuch told Music Week that there were no longer “acquisitions out there” at the right price. BMG has made giant strides in recorded music lately, signing the likes of Kylie Minogue, Avril Lavigne and Nickelback and enjoying success with Rick Astley, Blink-182 and Morrissey.

BMG’s operating EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) also rose, from €95m (£83m) to €104m (£91m), up 9.5%.

To read Music Week’s recent BMG cover story with Masuch and new UK boss Alistair Norbury, click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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