News July 6, 2016

BMG Australia acquires ’Australia’s Motown’, Alberts

Former Editor
BMG Australia acquires ’Australia’s Motown’, Alberts

BMG Australia has acquired internationally successful Sydney-based label, studio, publishing and rights management company, Alberts.

In BMG’s biggest move yet since launching locally three months ago, Alberts will now form part of BMG Australia.

BMG has acquired J Albert and Son, the music publishing and rights management business which was, until today a part of the The Albert Group.

Alberts CEO David Albert told TMN he will continue to run The Albert Group, which has retained the music publishing catalogues of AC/DC and Vanda, Young & Wright. BMG will manage these publishing rights worldwide on behalf of The Albert Group.

Under BMG, Alberts will be run by BMG Australia Managing Director Heath Johns with all Alberts music publishing and recordings transferred to BMG. 

David Albert, the fifth generation Albert to work in the family business, said the sale was a difficult decision to make:

“As music grapples with its digital future, with new distribution models and the influence of global technology companies, we believe BMG is in the best position to take the business forward,” said Albert. “BMG has a global presence, an artist-friendly approach to business and a genuine desire to invest in and support the Australian music scene.”

The 131-year-old Alberts, often described as Australia’s Motown records, started life as a publisher in 1885; it went on to sign major acts as AC/DC, The Easybeats, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, John Paul Young, Rose Tattoo and The Angels. Between 1974 and the early 1980s, Alberts commanded 20% of Australian chart action, making it the most successful Australian independent label on an international scale.

“The impact Alberts has had on Australian music and Australian culture is profound,” Johns told TMN. “It is a huge honour and responsibility to play a role in continuing this legacy. BMG is a creative company built by music people and it is our core mission to ensure that the Alberts catalogue is protected.”

Alberts artists, including AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Josh Pyke, Urthboy, and San Cisco, join BMG Australia’s growing roster. Since launching in March, Johns has signed Wave Racer, LDRU, Chris Ross and Myles Heskett of Wolfmother and Chris Cheney of The Living End to global deals. Through BMG’s international deals, the publisher also includes local artists Peking Duk (ex-ANZ), Meg Mac, Tame Impala (ex-ANZ) and Matt Corby on its roster.

“We are very excited by the contemporary domestic roster and on a personal level I am very much looking forward to working with these artists and writers in Australia and introducing them to our incredible international team,” Johns told TMN.

The Albert family will retain their interests in the catalogues of AC/DC and Vanda, Young & Wright given their long-standing relationships. BMG will administer the music publishing catalogues worldwide on behalf of the family.

When asked whether Alberts staffers would retain their jobs, Johns told TMN he is currently reviewing Alberts’ staff structure.

“We are currently looking at opportunities for a number of Alberts staff. BMG Australia’s relative infancy in this market means we have a number of positions available and at this stage it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Alberts Chairman Robert Albert said of the retained catalogue: “These songwriters were an integral part of my late brother Ted Albert’s vision to take Australia’s music to the world. Retaining these catalogues will allow us to stay connected with an industry that has been an integral part of our lives for the last 131 years. The family will also continue to maintain its lifelong connection with music through our philanthropy, which is focused on achieving positive outcomes through music.”

In July 2014 Alberts Productions celebrated its 50th anniversary with the release of a 103-track 5-CD box set called on Good Times: Celebrating 50 Years Of Albert Productions and the two-part documentary Let There Be Rock: The Story of Alberts Sound.

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said of the acquisition, “This is an incredible opportunity to create a new leader in Australian music, combining Alberts’ strengths with BMG’s 21st century approach to the music business. As of today, Australian artists and songwriters wishing to tap into the world market have a genuine alternative to the established majors. BMG is very serious about the Australian market and this deal is an indication of our commitment.”

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