BMG Posts 30.6% 2022 Revenue Jump as Catalog Acquisitions Top $400 Million

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Berlin, Germany. Photo Credit: Stefan Widua

BMG turned in a 30.6 percent year-over-year (YoY) revenue increase – and dropped over $400 million on catalogs – during 2022, according to a new earnings report.

The Berlin-headquartered music company’s 2022 showing just recently came to light in an annual performance analysis from its Bertelsmann parent. According to the resource, BMG – which boasted 22 offices as well as 1,111 employees at yearend – generated €866 million ($943.65 million at the present exchange rate) on the year, representing 22.8 percent “organic growth.”

Behind the revenue boost, the company pointed to a 38 percent YoY income hike on the recorded side (with 2022’s bestselling albums including releases from Jason Aldean, Louis Tomlinson, Mötley Crüe, the Backstreet Boys, Bryan Adams, and others) and 26 percent YoY growth for its publishing business.

Moreover, the lion’s share of BMG’s 2022 revenue (excluding intersegment sales) derived from “rights and licenses” (€796 million/$867.91 million), per the document, against €64 million ($69.78 million) from “own products and merchandise” and €3 million ($3.27 million) from services. While the latter two categories increased only modestly from 2021, rights and licenses achieved €200 million ($218.07 million) YoY growth, according to the resource.

Additionally, excluding intercompany revenue once again, 53.9 percent of BMG’s 2022 income is said to have stemmed from the U.S., compared to 12.2 percent from the U.K., eight percent from Germany, 6.8 percent from France (where BMG’s revenue actually dipped by €4 million/$4.36 million YoY), and 19.1 percent from other markets. The Telamo owner BMG also disclosed that 70 percent of the sum had come from digital – up from 63 percent during 2021.

Operating EBITDA, for its part, jumped 34.9 percent YoY to hit €195 million ($212.56 million), the document shows. On the acquisition front, Pimco-partnered BMG (which will have a new CEO in 2024) communicated that it had closed 45 catalog acquisitions during the 12-month stretch, injecting approximately €380 million ($414.33 million) total into the song rights (up from €281 million/$306.28 million in 2021).

Within the sum, €188 million ($204.99 million) is said to have resulted from investments in the States, compared to €113 million ($123.21 million) for the U.K., €27 million ($29.44 million) for Germany, and €52 million ($56.70 million) for other markets. Bearing in mind the figure attributed to IP buyouts, BMG specified that it had spent a total of €509 million ($555.04 million) on both IP and artist signings during 2022.

Elsewhere in Bertelsmann’s voluminous annual report, higher-ups pointed to “opportunities to better monetize the recorded-music and music-publishing markets,” referring in part to increased streaming prices as well as “more advantageous billing models between streaming providers and BMG.” Earlier this month, BMG (along with Fremantle Documentaries and Warner Music Entertainment) announced a feature-length film about Akron-based new-wave group Devo.