BMG REVENUES TOP $290M IN FIRST HALF OF 2018, WITH RECORDED MUSIC MAKING UP OVER A THIRD OF SALES

BMG is once again on course to turn over in excess of $500m in 2018, after posting its half-year results today (August 30).

Hampered by unfavourable currency exchange rates, Bertesmann-owned BMG’s total turnover across publishing and records was up 3% in H1 2018, to €241m ($292m).

According to an internal note sent to staff by BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch today, that number was in fact up 9.2% when currency effects are removed – growth which Masuch said was “nearly twice the expected rate of growth of the market as a whole”.

A glance over at Universal Music Group’s results in the same period is a good reference point to contextualize these figures.

Vivendi-owned UMG, which also reports in Euros and suffered similar currency effects, saw its face-value revenue (across publishing and records) actually fall year-on-year in H1 2018, by €38m, down 1.4% to €2.628bn.

At constant currency, however, UMG’s figures were healthier, up 6.8%.

(Interesting to note, in the context of BMG’s main rivals, that Concord Music expects to turn over in excess of $400m this year.)


BMG posted an EBITDA profit margin of €42m ($51m) in the first half of this year, up 5% on H1 2017 – and representing a 17.4% margin.

Perhaps the most impressive figure in BMG’s H1 2018 results is this one: recordings revenue grew 38% on a like-for-like basis when compared with the same period of 2017.

In his memo, Masuch noted that recordings now account for more than a third of BMG’s total revenues, a new high – meaning that the firm’s masters operation brought in somewhere around $100m in the first six months of this year.

“WE ARE GETTING BIGGER AND MORE SUCCESSFUL NOT BY BUYING COMPANIES, BUT BY SIGNING AND DEVELOPING ARTISTS AND SONGWRITERS AND ENSURING THEY ARE PAID FOR THEIR MUSIC.”

“We achieved this increase almost entirely through organic growth,” he said. “Our spending on acquisitions in the first half was at its lowest since we started our initial build phase of BMG nearly 10 years ago.

“We are getting bigger and more successful not by buying companies, but by signing and developing artists and songwriters and ensuring they are paid for their music.”



Added Masuch “I mention the switch to organic growth and the particular success of our recordings business because they illustrate a significant truth about BMG: we do what we say we will do. Just over a year ago, I said we would prioritise these two things and 12 months later we have delivered to plan.

“Doing what you say you will do has often been a rare commodity in the music business. At BMG we like to do things differently: say what you mean, mean what you say – and then get it done.

“We set ourselves high standards. Inevitably we will not always live up to them. But we try and mostly we succeed.”

Key recorded music releases coming from BMG before the end of the year include albums from Alice In Chains, Lenny Kravitz, The Prodigy, Richard Ashcroft and Avril Lavigne.

The company enjoyed recorded music success in H1 with the likes of Kylie Minogue album Golden and Lil Dicky single ‘Freaky Friday’, which hit No.1 on iTunes in 38 countries and achieved BMG’s first No.1 on the Official UK Singles Chart

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