Entertainment & Arts

BMG buys up rights to thousands of hit songs

Duffy
Image caption Duffy's Mercy and Warwick Avenue are also among the acquisitions

Music label BMG has bought the rights to some of the best-selling pop music of recent years, including hits from Take That and Nirvana.

The German-owned label bought Virgin Music's entire back catalogue, including chart-topping tracks by Robbie Williams, Duffy and Tears for Fears, for an undisclosed sum.

The catalogue was formerly owned by EMI, but when Sony/ATV agreed to buy EMI's publishing arm this summer, they were obliged to sell the catalogue as part of the deal.

BMG has signed a deal to acquire selected music publishing catalogues from Virgin Music Publishing, Famous UK Music Publishing and selected titles from Sony/ATV and EMI Music Publishing.

Regulators allowed a group led by Sony to buy EMI's music publishing arm for $2.2bn (£1.36bn) on the condition that the stated catalogues were sold in order to ensure fair competition.

'Influential'

The 21,000-song Virgin Music catalogue includes hits such as Cobain's Smells Like Teen Spirit, Lenny Kravitz's It Ain't Over Till It's Over and Iggy Pop's Lust for Life.

Hits from 1980s, such as Tears for Fears' Shout, Karma Chameleon from Culture Club and Human League's Don't You Want Me are also among the highlights of the catalogues BMG has acquired.

BMG, one of the fastest-growing start-ups in music business history, was founded three years ago and is already the world's fourth largest music publishing company.

It is reported to have bid around $90m (£55.6m) for the catalogues, beating competitors including Warner Music and Saban Capital.

"These catalogues contain some of the most influential and successful songs in popular music," said BMG chief Hartwig Masuch.

"We are delighted to have won the opportunity to represent the writers of those songs... they have my pledge that we will do our very best to deliver for them."

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