BMG Rights Management, formed in 2008 and jointly owned by Bertelsmann AG and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., spent 2010 acquiring one high-profile music publishing catalog after another. Since its founding, BMG Rights has inked more than 400 publishing deals, with at least 10 news-worth acquisitions in 2010 and two already in 2011. Some of the acquired catalogs were owned and operated as large corporate conglomerates. But, for some songwriters there may be an adjustment from the small indie publisher "personal relationship" to working with a multi-billion dollar corporation.
With the assistance of my legal intern Abby Kweller, I will outline over the course of several blogs posts the various acquisitions made by BMG Rights Management in 2010 and 2011. You can read Part 2 here and Part 3 here.
BMG Rights Management started 2010 with the acquisition of Cherry Lane Music in the first quarter. The Cherry Lane Music catalog includes hits written by the Black Eyed Peas, John Denver, Elvis Presley, John Legend and Quincy Jones.
This acquisition brought the number of song copyrights owned by BMG Rights Management to more than 140,000. The estimated purchase price was between $85 and $100 million.
Cherry Lane Music has both a substantial legacy/back catalog as well as active/current songwriters that continue to add new hits to the catalog.
Adage IV (June 2010)
In June 2010, Cherry Lane Music added classic songs “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” “Stay,” and “Little Darling” to its holdings as part of the acquisition of Adage IV Music. Adage IV was established as a music publisher that acquires legacy, time-tested song copyrights. Cherry Lane Music picked up an additional 500 song titles from Adage IV, bringing the catalog closer to the 150,000 title mark.
On July 15, 2010, BMG announced its third 2010 acquisition of leading independent publishing company Stage Three Music. Stage Three Music acquired the rights to catalogs they believed to contain classic songs. Hits from Aerosmith, David Essex, Macy Gray, Rascal Flats, and ZZ Top are some of the 39 artists and 29 writers that Stage Three controlled. Stage Three’s held the rights to over 18,000 titles, so this acquisition brought BMG’s catalog up to approximately 168,000 titles. During the time of this acquisition, Executives believed this deal gave rise to BMG ranking fifth in terms of worldwide-music-publishing market share. The purchase price of the deal was not disclosed.
Be on the look-out for additional blog posts summarizing the transactions.