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News April 1, 2022

Nick Cave, ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’ Power BMG to Solid Financial Results

Senior Journalist, B2B
Nick Cave, ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’ Power BMG to Solid Financial Results

Releases from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Masked Wolf helped BMG to double-digit growth last year.

The music company, a German division of media giant Bertelsmann, posted €663 million ($980 million) in annual revenue for 2021, up 10.1% from the corresponding year-earlier period, thanks in parts to several Australian creators.

Highlights during the reporting period included catalogue releases by ARIA Hall of Famer Nick Cave, while BMG songwriter Tyron Hapi had a hit with ‘Astronaut in the Ocean,’ which he co-wrote with Masked Wolf (real name Harry Michael).

The viral hit was the most-used song in 2021 on TikTok (soundtracking 17 million TikTok videos) and Shazam, the company notes in a statement, and earned entry into APRA AMCOS’ The 1,000,000,000 List, for global streams of one billion-plus.

Since its launch in 2008, BMG has emerged as a haven for established acts, keen to explore independence outside of the major label machines.

Its model would appear to be working, with successful releases last fear from Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Garbage, Iron Maiden and others contributing to its bottom line.

On the label side of its business, BMG “benefited from high revenues from music streaming and strong physical music sales,” the corporate statement continues, “while in the publishing business, growing digital revenues more than offset the pandemic-related decline in revenues from the live sector.”

BMG’s operating EBITDA was €144 million ($212 million), up 5.4% from the corresponding period in 2020.

BMG, which now claims to be the world’s fourth-biggest music company, was in an acquisitive mood last year, snapping up rights from ZZ Top, John Legend, Tina Turner and Mötley Crüe, and signing pop-punk heroes 5 Seconds of Summer earlier this month, ahead of the release of a fifth studio album.

“Acquisitions remain a real focus, and the extraordinary support of Bertelsmann means no deal is out of our reach,” comments BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch. “But while money is necessary it is not sufficient to strike successful deals.”

He continues, “BMG’s track record in respectfully and dynamically reviving great catalogues, both digitally and physically, continues to be our most potent tool in attracting world-renowned artists and songwriters. An emerging trend is for artists already deep in negotiations with competitors to break off those talks and come to BMG instead because they want to ensure their life’s work is duly respected.”

5SOS on Friday (April 1) releases ‘Take My Hand,’ the followup to their first release via BMG, ‘Complete Mess.’

BMG opened for business in Australia back in 2016, appointing former Universal Music Publishing executive Heath Johns to the top job, as managing director.

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