BMG Posts Best-Ever Results for First Half of 2022

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BMG has posted the best-ever half-year results in its 14-year history, with revenues up 25% year over year, according to an announcement from the Berlin-based music company and its parent, Bertelsmann.

According to the report, revenue for the period that ended June 30 was up 25% to approximately $405.7 million and operating EBITDA increased 46% to $79.8 million. And even as the catalog market is cooling elsewhere due to high prices and interest rates, its spending on catalog acquisitions tripled over the same period last year as part of Bertelsmann’s Boost program.

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The company’s revenue for the half year was also diversified, with 60% from publishing, and 40% from recordings.

BMG’s acquisitions in 2022 have continued its emphasis on steady-selling, established catalogs: blues legend John Lee Hooker, a 50% stake in veteran Scottish rockers Primal Scream, a deal to represent George Harrison’s publishing catalog. Its top-performing projects for the period reflected that as well: new albums from Bryan Adams, Jason Aldean Alt-J, and for publishing, Blossoms, George Ezra, Placebo and Sea Power.

It also has branched aggressively into the music-film space, with documentaries on Marc Bolan and T. Rex, Dio and the hotly anticipated David Bowie doc “Moonage Daydream,” out next month, which has been in the works for five years and is the first film endorsed by the late artist’s estate.

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “The extraordinary thing about our first half result is that we grew revenue 25% with virtually no hits. That’s because we have a business model which can have hits and will have hits with the right repertoire but is designed to be robust enough not to need hits in order to survive. The top end of the charts, the portion most companies focus on, is declining in relevance every year. Streaming’s Top 100 accounts for only around 5% of revenue. I’m not prepared to tell the artists and songwriters responsible for the other 95% that we’re not interested in them.

He continued, “We’ve had a great start to the year, but the better news is that this comes before we’ve even had what we believe will be the four biggest releases of the year, one of them yet to be announced.”

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