News | BMG | Berlin, 06/07/2022

BMG Confirmed As World’s Fourth-Largest Music Company

In its latest market analysis, the U.S. trade magazine Billboard concludes that BMG is the fourth-largest music company in the world, after the three majors Universal, Sony and Warner. In the U.S. alone, BMG is bigger than the well-known labels Epic, 300 Entertainment, and Arista put together. BMG is also the only European label in the global top 20.

BMG’s position as the largest independent rival to the three U.S.-based “majors” has been confirmed after new research published by U.S. music trade publication Billboard. BMG is the only global music company not based in the U.S. Bertelsmann’s music subsidiary has its headquarters in Berlin. Billboard’s numbers confirm that BMG is the fourth-largest music publisher in the world, behind Sony Music Publishing (1), Universal Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing (2), and Warner-Chappell Music Publishing (3). In records, too, it is fourth-largest behind Universal Music Group (1), Sony Music Group (2), and Warner Recorded Music (3). BMG is the only European label among the global Top 20.  

Unlike the majors, BMG is an integrated music publishing and recordings company. To give a sense of the scale of its U.S. operation, based on Billboard numbers, BMG’s combined revenues in the U.S. now exceed those of renowned U.S. labels Epic, 300 Entertainment, and Arista put together. The publication of the figures comes just weeks after BMG confirmed its U.S. leadership team of repertoire chiefs Thomas Scherer, President, Repertoire & Marketing, Los Angeles and New York, and Jon Loba, President, BMG Nashville, together with CFO Joe Gillen.  

In a joint statement, Scherer and Loba said: “This is confirmation of the hard work of the 200+ BMG US team and the steadfast support of the BMG board and our shareholder Bertelsmann. The fact that our operation now generates as much revenue as three of the most significant labels in the US combined puts that achievement in context.”

CFO Joe Gillen added: “Billboard deserves full credit for taking on the unenviable task of rating music publishers and labels by revenue when many of the numbers are not even publicly available. Our analysis of their numbers, eradicating double-counting and comparing them with our independently audited numbers, confirms beyond doubt that BMG is the largest music company outside the three majors.” Gillen said the numbers provide further evidence of the fragmentation of the music industry. “In music publishing, the smaller players combined are larger even than the industry’s long-time largest player, Sony. Meanwhile, the label numbers flatter the scale of the three majors in recordings by including non-owned and distributed repertoire. A ranking based on rights ownership would look very different.”