As many companies are buying up the rights to music catalogs, BMG and KKR have stricken a deal to jointly buy copyrights. According to Music Business Worldwide, this combination “will enable BMG to increase its spending power,” while “giving KKR a global/administrative/operational partner for music rights.”
“MBG and KKR can jointly pursue opportunities for acquisitions of major catalogs of music rights from now on,” BMG parent-company, Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO, Thomas Rabe, said, according to Music Business Worldwide. “Together with KKR, we are ideally positioned to make attractive offers to rights owners. KKR was already the ideal partner and catalyst once before, following the reestablishment of our music subsidiary in 2008. We subsequently bought back all of the MBG shared held by KKR in 2013 and since then, BMG has developed into one of the most successful music companies of the streaming age, and one of Bertelsmann’s three global content businesses. Now we will ignite the next stage with KKR.”
This marks the first time BMG and KKR will have worked together since 2013, when KKR sold its 51% holding of the former to Bertelsmann. KKR recently acquired a majority stake in Ryan Tedder’s catalog, giving them the rights to all of OneRepublic’s songs, as well as tracks Tedder had co-written with Beyoncé, U2, Paul McCartney and more. Meanwhile, BMG acquired Mick Fleetwood’s catalog back in January.
“BMG has become an innovative leader in the music industry by embracing digital trends early on, while always placing artists at the center of everything they do,” KKR partner and former executive at Bertelsmann, Richard Sarnoff, said. “We are delighted to reunite with BMG’s talented team to pursue future opportunities together, leveraging oru complementary platforms.”
A plethora of music companies, including Primary Wave, Iconic Artists Group, Hipgnosis, Universal Music and Reach have been buying up song catalogs over the course of recent months. Artists such as Shakira, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton, David Crosby and many more have been selling off their catalogs.
“Our early partnership with KKR helped us rapidly become the first international music company of the streaming age winning the trust of artists and songwriters with great service and 21st century levels of fairness and transparency,” BMG CEO, Hartwig Masuch, said. “This new relationship with KKR will offer artists and songwriters a well-funded, financially stable home for their music assets with the confidence that their songs and recordings will be managed both professionally and respectfully.”