BMG Reports 10% Revenue Growth For 2021, Doubles Down On Plans to Purchase Song Rights

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Berlin, Germany. Photo Credit: Stefan Widua

BMG generated €663 million ($734.07 million at the present exchange rate) during 2021, for a year-over-year increase of 10.1 percent, according to a newly released earnings report.

The Berlin-headquartered label, publisher, and music-IP investor’s 2021 financials came to light in a just-published performance analysis from its Bertelsmann parent company. Per this voluminous document, BMG revenue approached $735 million last year, as mentioned, up from $667.02 million (€602 million) in 2020.

BMG’s organic revenue growth touched 10.6 percent in 2021, the report likewise shows, with 90.2 percent of income ($662.13 million) having derived from “rights and licenses,” 9.5 percent ($69.74 million) from “own products and merchandise,” and the remaining 0.3 percent ($2.20 million) from “services.”

Plus, BMG’s operating EBITDA for 2021 finished at $159.34 million (€144 million), a 5.4 percent uptick from 2020, and digital produced 63 percent of the company’s 2021 income (up from 60 percent). Bearing in mind the latter, the analysis cites continued streaming growth and the ongoing resurgence of vinyl (as well as CDs) in explaining the YoY revenue boost.

“Growing digital revenues more than offset the pandemic-related decline in revenues from the live sector” in publishing, according to execs. And on the recorded side, the report highlights noteworthy 2021 releases from BMG artists such as AJR, Carlos Santana, Duran Duran, KSI, Jason Aldean, Iron Maiden, and Van Morrison, to name some. (Julian Lennon last week signed with BMG and is expected to release a studio album later this year.)

By region, 52.8 percent ($387.59 million) of BMG’s 2021 revenue came from the United States, compared to 11.8 percent ($86.62 million) from the United Kingdom, 9.5 percent ($69.74 million) from France, six percent ($44.04 million) from Germany, 12 percent ($88.09 million) from other European countries, and 7.9 percent ($57.99 million) from other nations yet.

In terms of BMG’s aforementioned song-rights plays, the company – which has continued to close partnerships and deals in the space this year – invested in the work of ZZ Top, Mötley Crüe, Tina Turner, and Mick Fleetwood during 2021.

These and other plays (some of which were executed in coordination with KKR) set BMG back $310.93 million (€281 million), Bertelsmann said, including $211.37 million (€191 million) for “various music catalogs in the United States,” $79.66 million (€72 million) for catalogs in Germany and Switzerland, $18.81 million (€17 million) for catalogs in the United Kingdom, and $1.11 million (€1 million) for catalogs in different states.

“BMG’s focus is on growth through signing new contracts with artists and authors, especially the acquisition of music rights and the monetization thereof,” the report relays towards its end. Lastly, on the personnel front, BMG finished 2021 with 1,025 employees, compared to an average of 1,015 team members in 2020.