BMG Announces Plans to Acquire Telamo, ‘Germany’s Largest Independent Record Label’

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Berlin, Germany. Photo Credit: Stefan Widua

BMG has officially announced plans to acquire Telamo, which execs say is “Germany’s largest independent record label” and “the leading player in the market for German Schlager music.”

The Berlin-headquartered company unveiled its latest play – the Bertelsmann subsidiary has also bought all manner of song catalogs in 2022 – this morning. According to BMG, the purchase of 10-year-old Telamo followed “a competitive process” and marks its largest label acquisition since a 2017 deal for Nashville’s BBR Music Group.

While higher-ups haven’t publicly identified the transaction’s financial specifics, they have emphasized that the agreement encompasses Telamo’s various divisions as well as a digital offering called Schlager für Alle.

Moreover, the purchasing party likewise took the opportunity to explain that the initially mentioned Schlager is “often described as Germany’s answer to country music” and has a 15 percent domestic market share. Said share makes the genre more popular than “rock/hard rock/heavy metal” (13.9 percent market share), “pop oldies” (9.4 percent), and “dance/electro” (8.6 percent), per BMG.

Bearing in mind the datapoints, the announcement message notes that about one-third of Germany’s top-25 “Schlager/Deutschpop” acts are signed to Telamo, with the label’s roster featuring Giovanni Zarrella (359,000 monthly Spotify listeners), Marianne Rosenberg (477,000), and Ross Antony (189,000).

On the personnel side, Telamo is set to continue operating its existing Munich and Berlin offices, and all 29 of the decade-old business’s team members are expected to stay on post-acquisition. The Austrian Federal Competition Authority will have to sign off on the buyout, and pending the organization’s approval, the involved companies anticipate that the deal will formally wrap in August.

In a statement, BMG’s EVP of repertoire and marketing for Continental Europe, Maximilian Kolb, acknowledged the transaction’s anticipated “major impact” upon the German-language music space.

“Over the course of the past ten years, Telamo has skillfully taken Schlager into the digital age,” said the former Sony Music Publishing sync and A&R manager Kolb. “We are thrilled to welcome Telamo’s wonderful artists and of course its team. BMG and Telamo share the same values of respect for artists. The combination of the two of us will have a major impact on the German language music market.”

Regarding Telamo’s effort to bring “Schlager into the digital age,” the Federal Music Industry Association (BVMI) indicated earlier this year that the German recorded music market had generated approximately $2 billion (specifically €1.96 billion) during 2021. Amid streaming’s continued growth, digital accounted for 76.4 percent of the total, according to the same source, including 68.3 percent for streaming itself.