News | BMG | Berlin/Munich, 08/04/2022

BMG To Acquire Germany’s Largest Independent Label Telamo

BMG is taking over Germany’s largest independent music label, Telamo. The acquisition of the leading player in the market for German Schlager music is BMG’s largest in Germany to date and its biggest label investment since the 2017 takeover of the U.S. Country label BBR Music Group. The acquisition also includes the leading digital offering “Schlager für Alle.”

Front row (from left): Hartwig Masuch (BMG), Giulia Höck (BMG), Kathleen Herrmann (Telamo), and Marko Wünsch (Telamo). Back row (from left): Maximilian Kolb (BMG), Ken Otremba (Telamo), Katja Bab (BMG), and Caspar von Reden (BMG).

BMG has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Germany’s largest independent record label, Telamo. Telamo is the leading player in the market for German Schlager music. With a combined market share of 8.5 percent, a merger would create one of the largest German label divisions across all genres. The deal is BMG’s biggest single label acquisition in Germany to date. Globally, it is BMG’s largest label investment since its 2017 acquisition of Nashville-based independent Country music powerhouse BBR Music Group. The acquisition includes not just Telamo and its labels, but also the leading digital offering Schlager für Alle, which has over 1.7 million users via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

Telamo was founded in 2012 by Kathleen Herrmann, Ken Otremba, and Marko Wünsch. All 29 employees as well as Managing Director Ken Otremba, will remain with the company. Telamo will continue to maintain its offices in Munich and Berlin. Kathleen Herrmann and Marko Wünsch will continue to act as consultants for Telamo.

Eight of Germany’s Top 25 Schlager/Deutschpop artists are signed to Telamo. The label’s best-selling artists include Giovanni Zarrella, Eloy de Jong, Marianne Rosenberg, Ross Antony, Die Amigos, Thomas Anders and Florian Silbereisen, Daniela Alfinito, and Fantasy, among many others. The strategic transaction will open up additional cooperation opportunities for Telamo artists via the Bertelsmann Content Alliance and BMG sister companies including broadcaster RTL Group and book publisher Penguin Random House. 

Common perspectives

“Over the course of the past ten years, Telamo has skillfully taken Schlager into the digital age,” said Maximilian Kolb, BMG, EVP Repertoire & Marketing Continental Europe. “We are thrilled to welcome Telamo’s wonderful artists and of course its team. BMG and Telamo share the same values of respect for artists. The combination of the two of us will have a major impact on the German-language music market.” Telamo founder Ken Otremba said, “Since our inception, our goal has been to create the optimal and most modern conditions for our artists. We are proud and excited now to welcome our artists to a brand-new chapter. Telamo will maintain its previous partnerships but will now offer access to more opportunities – both domestic and international.” Kathleen Herrmann added, “As founders of Telamo, we are convinced the best future for the company is in collaboration with BMG. We very much look forward to working with the BMG team and the wider BMG network.”And entrepreneur Marko Wünsch of the German consulting and technology company Artcom said, “We have been working together with Bertelsmann companies for 25 years now. BMG were the first to help us release products. The first artist was Elvis Presley, followed by Ronny – still a longtime seller today. With Ken, who was formerly with BMG Ariola, and with Kathleen we have helped grow artists’ careers including Fantasy. We know each other well and we know that the new BMG is the right partner for our future.” Artcom is a German group of companies that includes Shop24Direct, a retailer specializing in the Schlager genre.

“This transaction redraws the map of the German music industry,” said BMG’s Chief Content Officer Dominique Casimir. “We anticipate strong synergies both within the Bertelsmann Group and with our international businesses.” 

Since re-entering the recordings market in Germany, BMG has scored success with artists including Max Giesinger, Kontra K, LINA, Stefanie Heinzmann, Nils Frahm, Adel Tawil, Anna Loos, Cypress Hill, Trettmann and Kitschkrieg. Recordings account for around half of BMG’s revenues in Germany. With a 15-percent share of the market, Schlager is the most popular genre in Germany, after pop/pop rock (33 percent), followed by rock/hard rock/heavy metal (13.9 percent), pop oldies (9.4 percent) and dance/electro (8.6 percent). The transaction is subject to the approval of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority. Subject to their approval, the transaction is expected to close by the end of August.