BMG’s handsome $629 million in 2017 revenue is part of a broader rising of the tide.
We’ve been beaten up in the past for reporting a lot of bad news. But up until recently, the music industry wasn’t such a pretty place. And shooting the messenger never helped.
Now, there’s a lot more optimism in the air. So we’ll report that, too. Like the situation at BMG Rights Management, a company that had a very merry 2017 — and they’re not alone. Indeed, we’re starting to see a lot of big growth stories across lots of different music industry segments.
That includes a few you haven’t even heard about. But those are for later.
For starters, BMG scored a pretty impressive revenue feat. By year end, its revenue grew to $629 million, a 21 percent year-over-year improvement. BMG’s owner, German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, released the good news.
Breaking things down a bit: BMG’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization — or EBITDA — grew 9.5 percent over the period. As for territories, 44 percent of that came from the U.S., where recorded music revenues grew 16 percent in 2017 (that last data comes from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)).
In the United Kingdom, spending on recorded music increased by about 10 percent last year. And these aren’t isolated stories.
Which brings us to the bigger impact on players like BMG. According to the company, roughly 85 percent of BMG’s revenue growth came from broader recording and publishing gains around the world. The US recorded music industry, as well as publishing gains in both the US and UK, seriously bolstered the bottom line.
For the industry historians in the house: BMG Rights Management was preceded by Bertelsmann Music Group.
Before the industry got thoroughly disrupted, BMG was one of the five major music labels. Eventually it merged with Sony Music in an ill-fated marriage, awkwardly titled Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Ultimately, Bertelsmann sold its share of Sony BMG to Sony in 2008, but kept some assets. That included the foundation for the smaller, more independently operated BMG Rights Management.
Today, the company represents just three percent of Bertelsmann’s overall revenue, but that figure could increase. BMG easily fits into Bertelsmann’s strategy of creating “a faster growing, more digital, more international and more diversified,” future, as explained in its annual report.
Aside from BMG, Bertelsmann also owns book publishing houses Penguin Random House and Gruner + Jahr. It also owns the radio, TV company and media company RTL Group, Bertelsmann Printing Group, and a range of other companies.