BMG: Racing to Buy EMI?

BBMG Rights Management (BMG) has announced the acquisition of the distribution company, Bug Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiary, Bug Music, Inc. (Bug Music) for a reported $300 million.

The Financial Times reported that the acquisition magnifies BMG’s position in the race to buy EMI from Citigroup, the international financial conglomerate with headquarters in New York.

Bug Music – one of the industry’s leading independent music publishers – boasts a history of over thirty years, while it also owns and/or manages copyrights ranging from classic hits to modern masterpieces, including ‘What a Wonderful World’, ‘I Walk the Line’, and ‘The Real Slim Shady’.

Bug Music boasts an impressive clientele, including Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Iggy Pop, and even contemporary chart-toppers Kings of Leon.

Hartwig Masuch, CEO of BMG Rights Management, was keen to emphasise BMG’s strong market position in the aftermath of the acquisition.

“With the acquisition of Bug Music and its vast collection of evergreen and contemporary compositions, BMG further establishes itself as a leading music rights management company.”

Dotted Music reported as early as July the likelihood of a takeover at EMI.

Although Dotted Music did anticipate instability to the Big Four, it is unclear whether the Big Four recording companies are soon to be referred to as the Big Three, or if BMG can win the highly anticipated auction of EMI to take the company’s place in the Big Four.

However, BMG’s eagerness to impress upon the music industry raises concerns that the company will be outbid at any auction for EMI, with Sony Music Entertainment notably distant from the sale of Bug Music.

It is now September, and we here at Dotted Music are still asking the question we first asked in July: Will Four Become Three?

Samuel Agini is the editor of Andrew Apanov’s Dotted Music.