BMG revenues increased slightly to €602 million in 2020 despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The increase was €2m up on the previous year.
The BMG result bucked the trend for parent group Bertelsmann, where revenues were down 4.1% year-on-year. However, group profits were up 33.7% year-on-year.
BMG’s operating EBIT was flat at €137m.
According to the company’s financial report, BMG benefited from the continued boom in streaming and releases for both recorded music and publishing. Highlights included the expansion of the cooperation with the Rolling Stones.
“Thanks to the company’s focus on digital business and strong growth in music streaming, BMG was able to offset declines due to the effective shutdown of record stores worldwide,” stated the company in the annual report.
BMG revenues from the US account for 49.9% of the total, compared with 13.7% for the UK, 8.3% for France and 7.5% for Germany.
Big releases last year included albums by Kylie Mingoue, KSI, Kontra K and Run The Jewels.
The annual report stated: “Innovation at BMG is based on the company’s strategic pillars: focusing on growth segments, extending and diversifying its repertoire, expanding global presence, and delivering on its core values while retaining its cost leadership in the sector.”
Diversification includes a move into the live business in Germany, as well as a scaling up of partnership with artist management company Shelter Music Group.
BMG spent €58m on catalogues, of which €15m related to UK deals. The company recently invested in Mick Fleetwood’s recording rights and has teamed with investment firm KKR on a plan to make acquisitions of major catalogues.
Thomas Rabe, chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, said: “2020 was an exceptional year, which we closed with strong results despite the corona pandemic. We recorded revenue declines primarily in the second quarter, but in the second half of the year nearly all businesses were seeing growth again.”