All posts tagged BMG Rights Management

More Bits & Pieces: Midem Down in Numbers, BMG CEO Predicts end of A&R & the Race to Own Facebook’s Music Space

Midem down again in '11

Midem attendance numbers continued to slide this year, with a total gate of 6,850 – a 4.9% drop from last year, though there was a 30% uptick in the participation from the digital and tech fields, according to figures shared in MusicWeek. As usual there was plenty of gossiping and spats at the Cannes conference, with the latest to get headlines coming from BMG Rights Management CEO Hartwig Masuch, who during a panel on the future of publishing asserted that moving forward in the new industry paradigm, A&R will be abolished. Saying that as a result of the rise in new DIY systems, “I think the importance of A&R in finding new talent will be less important going forward,” adding “currently there is an A&R bottleneck which is stopping a lot of talent being recognized”…  Meanwhile, Digital Music News reports this morning that SonicBids will be entering the growing music space on Facebook, expanding their services to include an artist profile builder. Those who have already launched music page functions within the FB network include ReverbNation and RootMusic – though the latter is also involved in what appears to be a somewhat dubious Lady Gaga + Facebook promotion… And elsewhere, Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research, whose comments in the recent New York Times piece about the failure of digital music, explains his remarks and gives further perspective in a guest column on Billboard.biz.

BMG Rights Management Inks Worldwide Admin Deal with Notable Music Co.

Notable admin deal w/ BMG

BMG Rights Management has announced the signing of an exclusive worldwide administration deal with Notable Music Co., the boutique publishing company founded by the Great American Songbook legend, Cy Coleman.  The deal will see BMG representing the rights of Notable Music Co.’s full catalogue including Cy Coleman’s prestigious catalogue as well as the works of Bobby Hebb, Clifton Davis, Rosanne Cash, Wax Poetics, Chico Mann, Adriane Young, Aja West/The Mackrosoft and new masters by critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Sam Phillips. “We’re thrilled to work with Damon Booth and Tom DeSavia and the crew at Notable Music on Cy Coleman’s emblematic catalogue, an extraordinary chapter in the history of 20th Century American music,” said BMG North America COO Laurent Hubert. Notable Music VP and GM Damon Booth added, “We couldn’t be more excited about our new partnership with Laurent and the entire BMG team. As we approach the 50th anniversary of our company, we feel the knowledge and passion they have for our catalog and its history, combined with a shared vision for growth moving forward is a potent mix.” For more info about Notable Music check out our past Q&A with Damon and Tom here

Monday Scuttlebutt: EMI Countdown, Hands in the Cookie Jar & KKR’s BMG Wants It All

Handing over to Citigroup?

Less than a month ago, reports were indicating that a deal might see EMI change hands from Terra Firma to lender Citigroup before Christmas, a result of negotiations following Guy Hands courtroom defeat – seen by most as a last ditch effort to maintain control of the music company. Still yet to happen, reports over the weekend are indicating that it may only be a matter of weeks before Hands relinquishes control of EMI to Citi, who is rumored to already be lining up potential suitors for both the recorded music and publishing divisions. In what some see as further corroboration is the disclosure of a £12m dividend taken by Hands last year, which is an amount five times the company’s after-tax profits, though also less than a quarter of the personal funds he told the New York court he had put into EMI… Who is the most likely to bid on EMI if Citi takes control? The Guardian reports that just last Friday it was being heavily rumored that the recorded music arm would be quickly sold by Citi to Warner Music Group, while the publishing would be acquired by KKR‘s BMG Rights Management. Though further reports this morning reveal that BMG RM could be interested in both arms of EMI, but not the production or distribution sides.  If so, this could create a scenario that harkens back to talks held by EMI with rivals Sony and Universal last year, exploring the option of raising funds by licensing its catalogue for distribution. Depending on how it goes down, everyone could be in on this, one way or another…

Pub Crawl: More Changes Hitting BMG, Universal

Has a new Mann

Following the changes announced at Warner/Chappell earlier this week (more on that to come), is the news yesterday that BMG Rights Management has hired Billy Mann as president of creative for its North American operation, he will report to NA chief Richard Blackstone.  Most recently Mann held senior creative positions at EMI, a deal that stemmed from the acquisition of his company Stealth Entertainment, which EMI bought in 2007. When new group chief Roger Faxon scrapped the label’s global business unit last year, Mann exited along with Nick Gatfield and others. Those keeping score are wondering what Mann’s new position will really mean for the pubco’s growing U.S. operation… And more scuttlebutt coming from within Universal Music Publishing Group, with word of a shake up, particularly in creative departments, that is said to be going down this week.

Tuesday Bits & Pieces: BMG Eyeing EMI’s Recorded Music, Mobile Music Muves & More…

Sights on EMI masters, not publishing

A curveball was thrown in the speculation surrounding the fate of EMI yesterday, with the revelation from BMG Rights Management CEO Hartwig Masuch in an interview with Music Week, that the JV is more interested in the company’s recorded music assets, than the publishing catalogue. Contrary to most thinking, that the KKR-backed venture was eyeing the publishing arm of EMI, Masuch explained, “Integrating EMI’s publishing would be tough, but if you look at the recorded side, it is a different story,” adding “it is no secret we are more interested in rights to masters than publishing.” If this is the case, it should make for a more intriguing bidding process for the legendary music company, and it also begs the question of who the top contenders for the publishing assets will be… Elsewhere, little known prepaid provider Cricket Wireless received headlines with the announcement of a new mobile music service called Muve, which will launch in January of next year. The details of the service are intriguing, though a gamechanger it likely is not, remember Nokia‘s Comes with Music?… As LimeWire continues to shutter and shelve its various products and services, the company has found a new home for its little known freelance marketplace platform, LimeExchange.com…  And as MTV releases its Artists to Watch in 2011, some are predicting a return to rock in the new year for the channel; the list includes A Day to Remember, New Politics, Warpaint and The Vaccines.

Wednesday Bits & Pieces: BMG Buys Chrysalis, Myspace on the Block & more…

BMG buys Chrysalis

Heading out of the holiday weekend, industry chatter continues over the acquisition of Chrysalis by BMG Rights Management. One of the world’s largest independent publishers, Chrysalis publicly announced that it was in early-stage talks for a potential sale or merger just less than one month ago. Others bidders said to have been in serious talks include Imagem and Bug Music, though BMG RM came in with the winning offer at just over $168million. The purchase is the latest in a series this year from the joint-venture backed by Bertelsmann and private equity firm KKR – who is being seen as the driving force behind the publisher’s aggressive acquisitions – which also includes Cherry Lane, Adage IV and Stage 3. Following the acquisition, CEO Hartwig Masuch made comments indicating that he believes BMG is now the world’s largest independent music publisher, and is just behind the top four major music publishers. EMI Music Publishing continues to be another likely target in the event of its break up, which would easily make BMG a rival for the top spot… Following the quick deflation of any excitement over the relaunched Myspace last month, comments by News Corp. COO on Monday seem to all but spell out the likelihood of a sale for the beleaguered social network. Though Myspace did release a new mobile site and iPhone app this week, a direction some see as the most sensible one for the site who has seen its numbers drop even more drastically over the past year. Likely bidders for the site being mentioned include the usual digital media giants like Yahoo and AOL, though others see Google (who is also in the midst of discussions to acquire the red hot startup Groupon) as an interesting candidate as well… Elsewhere, the L.A. Times takes a look at the recently overhauled MTV and its focus back on music… Sony Music mistakenly takes action to pull songs offline from Bradford Cox, whose musical projects include Deerhunter and Atlas Sound… And PC Magazine has responded to the letter it received from a group of industry executives last week, which included signees from organizations such as the RIAA, Harry Fox Agency, Sound Exchange, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, criticizing the publication for a recent article naming file-sharing service alternatives in the wake of LimeWire shutting down…

Situation at EMI: Was Exec Shuffling Ahead of Verdict Early Signal of Break Up?

Exec cost cutting ahead of sale?

In the wake of a courtroom defeat for Guy Hands and Terra Firma in the legal action brought against Citigroup, all talk has turned to the fate of EMI. With the likelihood of more investors stumping up funds to keep the company in control of its current owners slim, and a dept-for-equity swap with Citi or even licensing content to another major music group, an avenue that was explored previously, exist in the realm of possibility, almost all signs indicate that one way or another the music company will fall into new hands (no pun intended).  The list of suitors currently being thrown around includes the usual suspects who have had an eye on EMI’s recorded and publishing sectors, such as BMG Rights Management, Warner Music Group and  Sony/ATV. But a look at executive movement within EMI over the past months seems to indicate that a sale or break up of the company may have been a foregone conclusion. Back in June Roger Faxon was named Group Chief Executive, moving him over from his longtime leadership at EMI Music Publishing, and soon after executive house cleaning began with Faxon ultimately tapping Dan McCarroll to take the reigns as prexy of Capitol & Virgin Label Group just last month – McCarroll was also plucked from EMI’s pubco where he was previously EVP of creative. And last week saw the news of Rob Stevenson‘s exit from the label, after being installed as President of Virgin in 2008 under now departed Nick Gatfield. Names of possible replacements being rumored include more execs already planted within the EMI structure. So are all the internal moves simply a reversal in the earlier unsuccessful practice under Hands to bring in outsiders? Or as some are indicating, is it to minimize costs ahead of a sale and reduce the typically high expense of hiring outside for creative executive positions? Stay tuned…

In Case You Missed It: Hiring Recap

Broitman

Several new label and pubco hirings have been announced over the last week… They include former Warner/Chappell Music CEO Richard Blackstone, who has been tapped by BMG Rights Management to oversee the publisher’s U.S. operations as new Chief Creative Officer, reporting to CEO Hartwig Masuch… Warner/Chappell has a new head of sync in Ron Broitman, who comes to the pubco from Sony/ATV and BMG Publishing before that, reuniting him with current WC prexy Scott Francis… Universal Music Group has upped Rob Wells to president of Global Digital Business from his role as SVP digital… And in more digital shuffling Warner Music Group‘s head of digital legal affairs, Elliott Peters, is reportedly preparing to leave his post for a new position at Apple overseeing iTunes European legal team…

BMG Rights Management to Launch Operation Down Under – Another U.S. Acquisition Still Imminent

According to a story in Billboard this morning, BMG Rights Management intends to launch operations in Australia in early 2011. Former Albert Music CEO Tim Prescott, who stepped down from the post earlier this year, is said to be assisting in the company in their plans to expand into Australia and New Zealand, though his relationship with the Berlin-based publishing company is unclear. Prescott was previously a VP at Sony BMG Music, leaving for Albert Music in 2007 prior to the Sony – BMG split… For now the plans for the operation down-under are murky, but the Bertelsmann and KKR-backed venture has made no bones about its desire to compete with the big four publishers world-wide, and has been heavy focused on acquisitions over the last year. Some are watching BMG RM’s current sub-publishing partner in the region, Mushroom Music, as well as Albert, which represents the entire AC/DC catalogue… Still expected before the end of the year is another significant U.S. acquisition, with a number of independent pubcos rumored to be in play. Last month they announced the purchase of Evergreen Copyrights after previously obtaining catalogues from Cherry Lane and Adage IV. Stay tuned…

Thursday Bits & Pieces: L.A. Reid, BMG Eyes Top Publishers, More CMJ Acts & More…

Tongues are wagging about the fate of L.A. Reid‘s future as Chairman of Island Def Jam, with lots of information and misinformation swirling, and a cast of players including Lucian Grainge, Simon Cowell and The Dream, most believe Reid himself is the x-factor here… BMG Rights Management continues their publishing offensive in the U.S. with the acquisition of Evergreen Copyrights, after the announcement of which this week, CEO Hartwig Masuch made known his plan to rival the four major music publishers for dominance, adding in reference to the unsure fate of EMI, his company wouldn’t necessarily need EMI’s entire publishing business, but would be happy with Western European assets… CMJ has announced the 2nd batch of acts confirmed for this year’s Music Marathon in New York City, including currently chased indie groups like BRAHMS, Oberhofer and Cults, the latter of which looks to have been taken off the market as quickly as they appeared… Back on the left coast, catch Fool’s Gold at the Troubadour tonight, as the local band returns for a hometown show after a string of European dates. And it looks like fellow IAMSOUND Records act MEN, who were featured on the cover of last week’s LA Weekly, will see their release in the UK via Columbia, who also appears to have grabbed the London-based NME About to Break group, The Vaccines

BMG Rights Management to Acquire Two U.S. Companies Before Years End, CEO Says

BMG Rights Management Chief Executive Officer Hartwig Masuch has announced that the Bertelsmann AG and KKR backed publishing venture will acquire two more U.S. companies before the end of the year.  Each purchase will be in the range of 50 million to 80 million Euros and the first acquisition is expected to be complete within 6 weeks, the CEO revealed in London on Wednesday night. Most recently the company bought UK publisher Stage Three Music and before that the U.S. publishing company Cherry Lane Music… With the purchase size indicated by Masuch, the names of a few likely U.S. pubcos are being thrown around as seriously in play. Stay tuned…

Thursday Round Up: John Boyle Named President of Hello Music & BMG Rights Buys Stage Three Music

Hello Music, the online music company that launched at the beginning of 2010 with the goal of connecting artists with opportunities from partners including Slacker, Topspin, TuneCore and Yahoo! Music, has named John Boyle as president. Boyle’s music pedigree includes founding and producing the highly successful Snocore Tour, executive roles at Giant Records, Virgin and Warner Bros. Records, as well as forming his own management company The BAM Group

Elsewhere, BMG Rights Management is said to be buying London-based Stage Three Music. The joint venture formed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Bertelsmann will buy the publishing company from shareholders, private equity firm Apax Partners, venture capital fund Ingenious Ventures and management. The deal includes rights to songs such as Aerosmith‘s “Walk this Way” and ZZ Top’s “Gimme All Your Lovin”  - it also adds to the growing number of acquisitions made by BMG RM in the last year…

Know Your Rights…

Who's Next?

Over the last year BMG Rights Management, the publishing entity backed by German media giant Bertelsmann (who recently celebrated its 175th anniversary) along with investor KKR, has been busy buying catalogs and publishing companies in Europe and increasingly in the U.S.. So far acquisitions in the U.S. include Crosstown Songs America, Adage IV and Cherry Lane Music Publishing – the latter being their largest acquisition to date. Speculation of the company’s interest in EMI Music Publishing has continued to varying degrees for nearly as long as the new entity has existed, but with Terra Firma‘s recent inflow of investor cash, some are questioning whether action will be taken any time soon. Regardless of a move on EMI, insiders share that BMG RM will continue its aggressive acquisitions, with a particular eye on prominent independent publishers… Elsewhere KKR has had its own spotlight recently, with multiple reports of their interest in talent powerhouse CAA and a new listing on the New York Stock Exchange beginning next week, analysts perceive eagerness among U.S. investors for the firm’s arrival. Stay Tuned…

In Case You Missed It: Reading Recap

Acquires Cherry Lane Publishing - Eyeing EMI

One of the latest wrinkles in the unfolding tale of Terra Firma and EMI comes this week with a report that the struggling music company is in talks with competing major labels to license portions of its catalogue…  Universal Music followed up with a denial that it was speaking with the music company, while as rumored here, Bertelsmann and KKR‘s BMG Rights Management expressed that it is indeed interested in EMI’s assets. In related news, the newly launched publishing company made its largest acquisition to-date by purchasing Cherry Lane Publishing… In what could be interpreted as another step toward ISP bundled music subscriptions, AT&T announced a new music “experience” that will combine song downloads, streaming radio, lyrics and more in a single mobile application for subscribers… Next Big Sound compiled social media data to find the fastest rising bands at the SXSW music festival last week, and it was announced that online radio WOXY.com would be closing its doors.

Around Town: One Haven Music Pub, Apple Talk, Lucy Schwartz & more…

Lucy Schwartz EP Release Show @ Hotel Cafe - Wed, 1/27

One Haven Music Publishing led by Steve Backer and Michael Caplan is partnering up with the new BMG Rights Management publishing company via an exclusive, worldwide joint venture. BMG Rights Management is the entity formed by the financial firm KKR and Bertelsmann.  Both industry veterans, Backer has had success in the label and publishing arenas (EMI Pub, V2 Records and Epic) while Caplan’s impressive A&R resume includes signing Los Lonely Boys and Matisyahu. Caplan is also the President and Co-Founder of the Or Music independent record label…

The Apple rumor-mill has been churning on high leading up to tomorrow’s “special event” in San Francisco, where many believe Steve Jobs won’t see his shadow and will unveil the highly anticipated, and up until now mythical, Apple Tablet - less likely but still in the running is the formal announcement of an iTunes music-streaming service and an answer to the Favre retirement debate…

Lucy Schwartz celebrates the release of her new EP Help Me! Help Me! (out today) tomorrow night in Los Angeles at Hotel Cafe.  Schwartz first made waves in 2008 while still in high school, with her songs getting airplay on KCRW and placements in the film The Womenwww.myspace.com/lucysong

Friend of the show and Authentik Artists CEO Scott Austin has penned an open letter to Franz Ferdinand, taking the Glasgow group to task for their recent complaints via Twitter about their label and its licensing of one of the band’s songs for a new McDonald’s campaign

**Update: Read Alex from FF’s response HERE

And mark your calendars for this Saturday at Spaceland where Future Sounds presents Nico Stai, Chief, Fences and Yikes! A Lion!

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