News March 31, 2021

BMG revenues up in 2020 despite global ‘shutdown of record stores’

BMG revenues up in 2020 despite global ‘shutdown of record stores’

BMG’s revenues were up by 1.9% in 2020 despite challenges it faced from the global health crisis, according to financials from its parent company Bertelsmann released yesterday.

BMG increased its revenue by €2 million (AU $3 million) when compared to 2019, to a total of €602 million ($928.7 million), but operating EBIT was flat at €137 million ($211.3 million).

“Thanks to the company’s focus on digital business and strong growth in music streaming, BMG was able to offset declines due to the effective shutdown of record stores worldwide,” Bertelsmann stated.

“Innovation at BMG is based on the company’s strategic pillars: focusing on growth segments, extending and diversifying its repertoire, expanding global presence, and delivering on its core values while retaining its cost leadership in the sector.”

The US remains its biggest market, accounting for 49.9% of revenue. Other major markets for BMG are the UK (13.7%), France (8.3%) and Germany (7.5%).

Throughout 2020, the company stormed the charts with Jamaican reggae singer Conkarah (whose ‘Banana’ feat. Shaggy had one billion streams), while Kylie Minogue’s Disco charted in 21 countries including #1 in England, Australia, Scotland, Ireland and the US dance/ electronic album chart.

Others were internet celebrity and artist KSI, German rapper Kontra K and Run The Jewels.

New recording deals were struck with, amongst others, Australia’s Julia Stone, production duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Pat Metheny, Aloe Blacc, Sepultura and Erika Ender.

The publishing business saw revenue generated from AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and Lewis Capaldi, while in April Xiao Zhan’s hit ‘Made To Love’, written by BMG songwriters, set a new digital record in China with 25.5 million downloads within 24 hours.

The publishing division signed Neil Finn and Diane Warren, among others, while Mick Jagger and Keith Richards renewed their deals with the global independent.

As part of its diversification, BMG expanded into live entertainment in Germany with a majority share in Undercover and expanded its partnership with management firm Shelter Music Group.

It also spent €58 million ($89.4 million) on catalogues, including Mick Fleetwood’s and Cheyenne Records, home to German girl band No Angels. It also struck a partnership with investment firm KKR to acquire more catalogues.

Amid the global debate on racism and social justice,  BMG also launched an investigation into whether the terms of its recently-acquired catalogues discriminated against black artists.

BMG runs 20 international offices in 12 core music markets including Australia, representing more than three million songs and recordings, according to the report.

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