The new BMG has announced that it has acquired Nashville-based independent powerhouse BBR Music Group (BBRMG), including its associated labels Broken Bow Records, Stoney Creek Records, Wheelhouse Records, Red Bow Records and its music publishing company Magic Mustang Music.
The agreement includes the rights to a number of major country artists including Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins, Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser, Thompson Square and many others.
BBR Music Group is BMG’s biggest single acquisition in the recordings business since its launch in 2008 as the first new international music company of the streaming age.
The deal gives BMG a significant position in the Nashville music business and promises a number of benefits to BBRMG and BMG-signed artists and songwriters. BBRMG clients will have a greatly enhanced international scope as they are plugged into BMG’s global platform and BMG recording artists will gain a significant new marketing resource.
Since its formation by entrepreneur Benny Brown in 1997, BBR Music Group (BBRMG) has become one of the most successful independent music companies in Nashville and the broader US music industry. BBRMG has scored seven multi-platinum or platinum albums, 19 multi-platinum or platinum singles and 32 number one airplay singles across eight different artists.
Jason Aldean alone has sold over 14 million albums including 18 Number One Country Singles and seven platinum or multi-platinum albums, including 2016’s They Don’t Know which hit Number One on the Billboard 200, US Top Independent Albums and Country Albums charts. Aldean remains the RIAA’s #1 digital selling male country artist of all time.
BBRMG will continue to operate from its Nashville headquarters and its 48 staff will transfer to BMG. It will sit alongside BMG’s recording operations in Los Angeles, which has released US Number One albums by Janet Jackson (2015) and blink-182’s Grammy-nominated California (2016), New York – home to a roster including pop sensation Andy Grammar and Number One Christian artist Danny Gokey and Portland, Oregon, where rock label Rise Records’s roster includes PVRIS and At The Drive-In.
“BBR Music Group is a phenomenally successful operation whose philosophy and commitment to its artists fit perfectly with the new BMG,” states BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch. “I have a huge respect for what Benny and his team have achieved. The combination of BBR Music Group and BMG gives artists and songwriters in Nashville and beyond a new route to the worldwide market. We will be the alternative so many artists are looking for.”
BBRMG founder Benny Brown and CFO Paul Brown will remain as consultants to the business following the deal, while all existing staff remain in their positions reporting directlyto Executive Vice President Jon Loba. Loba will report to BMG US President Repertoire & Marketing Zach Katz.
“BBR Music Group is a phenomenally successful operation whose philosophy and commitment to its artists fit perfectly with the new BMG.”
“Since 2001 I’ve been approached many times by various major labels wanting to purchase us,” Brown says. “The most important thing to me has always been my artists, my employees and my songwriters. They have always been my family and after meeting with Hartwig and Zach, I knew that I’d found the right partners to ensure my family stayed together and to also continue the BBR Music Group legacy. We were one of the very first indie labels to ever break through in country music. Because of that we created a different culture within our walls that’s pretty simple – happy people are productive people. That’s always been important to me and that’s also the way Hartwig and Zach run BMG. I knew they shared my vision and my passion and that’s what made this the right fit.”
The acquisition of BBR Music Group marks the return to the Nashville record business of BMG after an eight year absence. The first incarnation of BMG acquired RCA Records, including its Nashville operation in 1986, enjoying success with artists including Clint Black, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and numerous others. RCA became part of the Sony-BMG joint venture in 2004, before parent company Bertelsmann sold its stake in the joint venture in 2008 to launch the new BMG with an innovative artist-friendly business model which brings music publishing and recordings together under one roof.
The new BMG launched its successful Nashville-based music publishing operation in 2009. In his role overseeing Nashville operations, EVP Kos Weaver has developed a diverse roster that includes Alabama, Brett Beavers, busbee, Danny Gokey, Hillary Lindsey, Buddy Miller, and John Paul White.
“The BBR Music Group folks are not only close neighbors of BMG here in Nashville, they share a similar approach in their philosophy and relationships with their artists,” Weaver says of the move. “This is an amazing match, our potential together is enormous.”
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.