Business News Deals Labels & Publishers

BMG allies with Warner’s ADA on distribution

By | Published on Wednesday 20 April 2016

So, can I start spreading those totally unsubstantiated Warner/BMG merger rumours again? To be honest, I forgot about my plan to create a WarnerBMG business through gossip. But I do miss the days of major mergers in the music rights sector.

Ah, do you remember the glory days of the EMI downfall? The mounting debts. The unhappy bankers. The big split of the business. The briefings. The biddings. The bitchings. The threats of libel litigation. They were happy happy days.

Anyway, music rights firm BMG has formed an alliance with Warner Music’s label services division ADA, which is mainly a logistics move on the former’s part, but a sizable win for the latter’s all important services business.

The deal will see ADA handle the distribution of much of BMG’s sound recordings, which include the catalogues of seminal indies like Mute, Skint and Sanctuary, as well as the output of frontline labels like Infectious and Vagrant, and any other acts that enter into one of those fashionable artist services deals with the BMG company.

As it has grown its sound recordings interests in recent years, BMG has formed alliances with a variety of distribution partners, some of which will continue to provide services to the firm, including Sony Music, [PIAS], Absolute and GoodToGo. But Warner’s ADA will become the exclusive distribution partner for catalogue and a primary partner for new releases, with more and more tunes being punted their way as the months go by.

The deal was confirmed internally at BMG by CFO Max Dressendörfer, who wrote to staff that “as part of our development, naturally we constantly review all third party supply arrangements and I am delighted to be able to tell you of a substantial overhaul of our supply chain which will speed the route to market for hundreds of thousands of recordings and benefit our artist clients”.

He went on: “The rapid pace of our growth in the past three years has led to our inheriting or acquiring more than 50 digital and physical distribution relationships around the world. This will now gradually fall to a handful as we consolidate with a small number of suppliers”.

“The biggest change is that ADA, Warner Music Group’s independent artist and label services division, who already represent Rise Records, has signed an exclusive global distribution deal for BMG’s catalogue recordings and will be a global partner on frontline releases, with some exceptions”.

Bigging up the deal on Warner’s side was boss man Stephen Cooper who said in an internal memo republished by Music Business Worldwide: “I am delighted to share the news that WMG and ADA have signed a major agreement with BMG, one of the world’s most prominent music companies. ADA Worldwide has entered into an exclusive global distribution deal for BMG’s recorded music catalogue. Further, we will be a global partner for BMG on frontline releases, with some limited exceptions”.

Cooper’s memo concluded: “With BMG’s exciting new albums joining our release schedule, and their impressive catalogue creating some fantastic marketing opportunities, this partnership is an important global priority for ADA and WMG. Thank you, all of you, for making WMG the destination of choice for the best labels and artists. And thank you to everyone around the world who I know will be working hard to make this relationship a huge success”.