Remember ‘What Is Love?’ BMG Acquires 100% of Haddaway in Coconut Music Deal

BMG acquires Haddaway recorded rights
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BMG acquires Haddaway recorded rights
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Photo Credit: BMG

BMG has announced it has acquired the catalog of Cologne record label Coconut Music—including the recorded rights of Haddaway.

Haddaway’s 1993 “What Is Love” has been streamed more than one billion times (thanks to great sync placement in the 1998 movie ‘A Night at the Roxbury’). The deal also includes tracks by Bad Boys Blue, London Beat and Wolfgang Petry.

BMG says the deal builds on their 2022 acquisition of Haddaway’s recorded royalties, giving the company 100% control of one of the most iconic songs of the ‘90s.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

In 2010, Eminem sold one million downloads of his song “No Love” with Lil Wayne, which uses a sample of “What Is Love” in the chorus. In 2023, “Baby Don’t Hurt Me” by David Guetta, Anne-Marie and Coi Leray hit the charts in more than 30 countries and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Dance Recording.

Coconut Music (formerly known as Coconut Records) was founded in 1981 by Karin Hartmann and Tony Hendrik in Cologne. The label scored across multiple genres, but “What Is Love” became a worldwide hit selling 2.6 million copies, reaching #1 in 13 countries and hitting #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, receiving four platinum and seven gold awards.

“Building Coconut was a labor of love,” says Co-Founder Karin Hartmann about the deal. “Every track holds its memories and of course ‘What Is Love’ was a global success beyond our wildest dreams. It’s no surprise then that when we decided to sell, there was a lot of interest. What was most important to us is that we would find a buyer which understood and respected what we achieved and would do this catalog justice. We are delighted to have been able to conclude a deal with the BMG team.”

“We are delighted to become custodians of Coconut’s 2,500-track catalog and especially ‘What Is Love,’” adds BMG EVP Repertoire & Marketing Continental Europe Maximilian Kolb. “It is one of the most influential tracks in the whole Europop movement and as seen in David Guetta’s successful homage last year, it still very much resonates with music fans today. We look forward to ensuring its place in music history.”