At a press conference in Berlin last week Thomas Hesse, now back with Bertelsmann having departed Sony Music late last year, made some comments about the achievements and plans of the v2 BMG music rights company, launched in 2008 after the German media giant sold off its former music assets to Sony and Universal (which is how Hesse ended up working for the former).
Speaking alongside newish Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe, Hesse said BMG had acquired rights in more than one million titles since its 2008 launch, and now employed 300 people worldwide in nine countries. He said Bertelsmann’s partnership with equity fund KKR in BMG remained solid, and that both partners were keen to see further growth for the rights firm.
According to Billboard, he told reporters: “The integration of major catalogues such as Bug Music and Chrysalis has resulted in substantial synergistic benefits and positive effects on earnings. In the future we intend to continue acquiring selected interesting catalogues”.
He added: “Different from the recorded music market, the music rights business also profits from the digital era based on the fact that, worldwide, music has never been listened to so much as it is today”.
Although BMG missed out on both the Warner and EMI publishing catalogues that went on the block last year, it’s known to still be looking for other deals to expand its assets, and will likely bid for any publishing (and possibly recordings) catalogues forced to be sold by competition regulators reviewing Universal and Sony’s bids to buy the EMI record labels and publishing business respectively. Indeed, as previously reported, BMG is believed to already have bid for three publishing catalogues Universal is planning to sell to help fund its EMI takeover.
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