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BMG aligns with Germany’s Taubertal Festival

BMG and its live partner Undercover have formed a strategic alliance with Volker Hirsch, founder of Germany’s Taubertal Festival.

The deal, which will see BMG acquire a majority stake in Taubertal organiser KARO Konzert-Agentur Rothenburg, marks the latest phase of the label and publisher’s live expansion, adding festivals to its existing touring, booking and concerts offering.

Founded in Tauber Valley in 1996, Taubertal has featured acts including Placebo, Rise Against, Pink, Die Toten Hosen, The National and Skunk Anansie. Its 25th-anniversary edition, scheduled for 12-14 August 2022, will welcome the likes of Biffy Clyro, Kontra K, AnnenMayKantereit and Kraftklub.

KARO, Undercover and BMG will work together to create “compelling, tailor-made music marketing and sponsorship solutions for the festival”, with the goal of further strengthening the brand internationally.

“After 25 very successful years, I am looking forward to a new chapter,” says KARO Konzert-Agentur Rothenburg CEO Hirsch, who will retain full creative freedom and continue to head the festival.

I am excited to be able to build up the festival headliners of the future together with BMG

Hirsch adds: “I see the partnership with BMG as a valuable support in underpinning the position of Taubertal-Festival as a top national festival brand and in bringing the media activation of the festival to a top international level.

“I am excited to be able to build up the festival headliners of the future together with BMG and to be part of BMG‘s live entertainment offering started together with Undercover.”

Berlin-based BMG partnered with German promoter Undercover in 2020. 

Michael Schacke, CEO of Undercover and head of BMG’s live activities in GSA, says: “One year after Undercover joined BMG, we can now close the festival gap in our live portfolio and thus further expand our joint vision of live entertainment and artist partnership.

“In Volker’s and my first conversation about moving closer together it immediately became clear: The values of KARO, BMG and Undercover including fairness and transparency fit together incredibly well. My team and I are really looking forward to working together.”

Dominique Casimir, BMG EVP global repertoire & marketing EU, APAC & LATAM, adds: “Moving into live music demonstrates BMG’s commitment to offer artists the entire creative value chain, giving us the opportunity to serve them in every area of their careers depending on their individual setup. Expanding these services to all relevant stakeholders in the live music and entertainment market is the next big step.”

 


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BMG acquires German promoter Undercover

BMG Rights Management, the Berlin-based record label and music publisher, is entering the live business for the first time with the acquisition of a majority stake in promoter/event production firm Undercover.

Brunswick-based Undercover, which usually promotes in excess of 200 concerts and shows annually, will form the basis for a new live music and events business unit within BMG in Germany. The company also serves a tour agent, brokering tours and festivals for national and international artists across Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GSA), and develops and produces its own touring formats.

Undercover CEO Michael Shacke and his team of 30 will remain in place following the acquisition, the terms of which were not disclosed and which is expected to close by the end of this month.

The deal, says BMG, means that, in addition to “releasing recordings and publishing songs, BMG can now offer artists an integrated tour promotion and ticketing service” on an opt-in basis.

“An important part of our job will be to form a centre of excellence for events”

Dominique Casimir, BMG’s EVP of repertoire and marketing for continental Europe, says: “Moving into live is the logical extension of BMG’s plan to integrate all the services an artist could need under one roof, with the artist brand at the centre of it all. Crucially, we have found in Michael Schacke and his team a partner who shares our values.”

“I founded this company in 1991 to be able to perform with my band, and that’s how I became a promoter. This idea has since grown into a nationwide concert agency with over 30 employees,” adds Schacke. “Discussions about a partnership with BMG commenced long before the coronavirus pandemic, but we are now perfectly set up for when the market returns.

“There is a significant opportunity for us working together to offer a genuine alternative for artists in Germany and beyond, building on Undercover’s established recipe of ‘live entertainment and artist partnership’.”

The acquisition comes during a time of upheaval in the Covid-hit German live music market, and follows the launch of new promoter DreamHaus – also based in Berlin, and staffed with a number of former Live Nation Germany employees – last week.

Maximillian Kolb, managing director of BMG GSA, says: “Artists want partners who build their business around them, rather than the other way around. Above all, this means offering the best possible service.

“Moving into live is the logical extension of BMG’s plan to integrate all the services an artist could need”

“The German music market has proven to be extremely adaptable and is one of the strongest in the world, especially in the live segment. I am very happy that we have become the first territory within BMG to be able to offer a complete service portfolio to artists, including live.”

Launched in 2008 as the successor to Sony BMG, BMG Rights Management – owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann – represents artists including Iron Maiden, John Legend, Bring Me the Horizon, Bloc Party, Alt-J, Tame Impala, Morrissey, MIA, Frank Ocean, Jess Glynne, David Crosby and Kylie Minogue for label services and/or publishing.

Undercover will form part of a network of Bertelsmann brands, the Bertelsmann Content Alliance, which also includes broadcaster RTL, book publisher Penguin Random House and magazine publishing Gruner and Jahr (Stern, Capital, Geo).

Casimir, who is also a board member of the Bertelsmann Content Alliance, explains: “An important part of our job will be, together with the Undercover team, to form a centre of excellence for events within the Content Alliance. We look forward to working with the other divisions and together adding even more value to our artists and media brands by creating bespoke live experiences.”

 


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