As part of a new half-year report, Bertelsmann have revealed that BMG has seen its revenues swell to €414 million, up 11.5% compared to the €371 posted in 2022. The rise, it stated in a new interim report published today, was driven by both “organic and acquisition-based growth” in publishing and recorded music.
The operating EBITDA of BMG stands at €90 million, compared to €73m in 2022, representing a 22.6% rise.
The interim report stated that digital businesses accounted for 63% of BMG’s revenues, which was down 2022’s H1 of 69%. BMG said “Higher digital revenues were offset by comparably strong growth in live revenues due to post-pandemic developments.”
The year has, so far, been one of change for the music company. Thomas Coesfeld, the former CFO of BMG, took the reins from Hartwig Masuch to become the music company’s new CEO with effect from July 1, 2023 – six months ahead of the original schedule.
The intermin report outlined that his focus "going forward will include a more intensive collaboration with customers and partners, delivering greater efficiency and effectiveness and renewig the company's corporate culture".
Speaking about the results, Coesfeld said: “This is a strong performance in the face of an increasingly tough market. We achieved double-digit growth in both revenues and EBITDA. We struck 15 acquisition deals with artists and writers including The Hollies, Paul Simon and SNAP! And we scored significant success with clients including Kylie Minogue, Rita Ora, Jason Aldean, Mura Masa, Jelly Roll, Lewis Capaldi and Godsmack. Against the background of a soft advertising market, a maturing subscription streaming business and a physical music market impacted by inflation-driven cost increases, this is a very positive result."
He added: "With a continuing strong performance from our catalogue and a dynamic release slate including new material from Kylie Minogue and Jason Aldean, we are cautiously optimistic for the year-end. BMG has successfully carved out a distinctive position for itself as the most service-driven and artist-friendly music company. We plan a series of measures to further enhance that USP.“
Among its acquisitions – including the song catalogue of The Hollies, and a significant share of Paul Simon’s music interests, including the rights to royalties from Simon & Garfunkel’s recordings – one notable excerpt of the interim report detailed developments regarding George Harrison. It read: “In its ongoing business, the company secured the rights to release George Harrison’s solo recordings, thus uniting the ex-Beatle’s recorded catalogue and publishing rights under a shared umbrella”.
BMG has successfully carved out a distinctive position for itself as the most service-driven and artist-friendly music company
Upon taking the role, Coesfeld said “Together, with the aid of Bertelsmann’s Boost strategy, we have invested more than €500 million in acquiring music rights catalogues including those of such megastars as Tina Turner, Mötley Crüe, Simple Minds, Jean-Michel Jarre and ZZ Top. I am excited to build on this incredible foundation.”
BMG’s recorded music business saw successes from Jelly Roll, Kylie Minogue, Rita Ora, Godsmack and McFly. It said its most listened-to catalogues were from Mötley Crüe, Cro, Black Sabbath and George Harrison.
September looks set to be another big month for BMG, with the release of the highly-anticipated new Kylie Minogue album Tension, which has already spawned a huge viral hit in the form of Padam Padam.
With regard to its publishing business, it singled out I’m Good (Blue) co-written and performed by BMG’s Bebe Rexha, PinkPantheress and Ice Spice’s Boy’s A Liar which was co-written by Mura Masa, and Wish You The Best by Lewis Capaldi as big successes. Its best performing catalogues included Blondie, Daryl Hall and John Oates, George Harrison, Jean-Michel Jarre, Juice Wrld, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and ZZ Top.
As previously reported, in April BMG became the first global music company to abandon the “outdated” industry distinction between new frontline and older catalogue recordings. Reflecting the new reality of a streaming market in which older catalogue recordings account for up to three quarters of revenue, BMG moved to fully integrate its new release and catalogue recordings businesses.
Speaking on Bertelsmann group revenues as a whole, chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe said: “We look back on a good first half of 2023 and are happy with Bertelsmann’s business performance. The Group’s transformation, with the establishment of new businesses and, above all, our Boost strategy, is increasingly making itself felt. And so, despite a difficult macroeconomic environment, our company posted record revenues and a high operating result.”