BMG is entering the live music business for the first time, with a plan to offer artists a new alternative to the established live promotion industry. The company has inked an agreement to acquire a majority stake in indie German live music promotion company/event agency Undercover GmbH. The transaction is set to close at the end of October.
The Braunschweig-based company was founded in 1991 and, pre-pandemic, promoted more than 200 concerts and shows held a year. Through the new venture, BMG can now offer artists an integrated tour promotion and ticketing service.
The live music promotion service will remain an opt-in service. The new unit will also collaborate with other content divisions of BMG shareholder Bertelsmann in Germany, including broadcaster RTL, book publisher Penguin Random House and magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr under the banner of the Bertelsmann Content Alliance.
Dominique Casimir, BMG, EVP Repertoire & Marketing Continental Europe, said, “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 center of it all. Crucially, we have found in Michael Schacke and his team a partner who shares our values.”
Undercover CEO Michael Schacke said, “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. 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.'”
Maximillian Kolb, BMG, Managing Director GSA, said, “Artists want partners who build their business around them rather than the other way around. Above all, this means offering the best possible service. 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.”
Casimir, who is also a board member of the Bertelsmann Content Alliance said, “An important part of our job will be, together with the Undercover team, to form a center 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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