BMG's Hartwig Masuch brokers deal to boost country music in Europe

BMG's Hartwig Masuch brokers deal to boost country music in Europe

In his recent Music Week interview, BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch discussed the Bertelsmann Content Alliance, a wider company effort to exploit potential synergies.

Masuch has now led the way with his Bertelsmann colleagues in TV and radio on a deal that could expand the reach of country music in Germany. 

This November, the Country Music Association’s CMA Awards will be broadcast by Vox, Mediengruppe RTL’s free-to-air-TV channel. In addition, it has licensed CMA’s other two TV properties, CMA Fest and CMA Country Christmas for RTLplus. The three shows will also be available at Mediengruppe RTL’s video streaming service TVNow.

In a further boost for the genre, RTL Radio will launch a new 24/7 online radio station in October. It will feature the biggest contemporary country hits together with the best country songs of the past 10 years. The radio station, available online and via the RTL Radio app, is presented by German breakfast show DJ Arno Müller, a fan of modern country music.

In the UK, two new country stations - from Global and Bauer - have launched in recent months.

Stephan Schmitter, CEO RTL Radio, said: “Country music has a huge audience in Germany – but until now there hasn’t been an offer developed especially for the many German fans. With our new channel we have created this special programme – combined with the voice of Arno Müller it will let the hearts of country music lovers beat faster.”

The deal was brokered through the Bertelsmann Content Alliance by Masuch. BMG, of course, acquired the Nashville-based country music powerhouse Broken Bow Music Group in 2017. The deal was made with an explicit plan to develop country’s international appeal.

Masuch said: “Country music is one of the most dynamic genres in the world of music, and I am convinced there is a huge opportunity for country in Germany. We are delighted to work with the Country Music Association and our colleagues at Mediengruppe RTL to create this significant promotional platform across the GSA territories.” 

Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern said: “We are thrilled to be bringing the CMA Awards and our other TV properties to Germany. With the ever-increasing demand for country music in Europe, we’re excited for international viewers to have the opportunity to experience these shows that are so important to the country music community.”

The CMA Awards is the longest running, annual music awards programme on US network television, but has not been broadcast in Germany since 2012.  

In the UK, Bob Harris has presented highlights from the awards on BBC Four for the past two years.

This year’s CMA Awards will be hosted by Carrie Underwood together with special guest hosts and Country Music Hall of Fame members Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton.

The CMA is working on a special country focus at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival (September 18-21) with a panel and networking reception and an artist showcase.

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