BMG Acquires Majority of ARC, Chess Records' Publishing Arm

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Chuck Berry performs his "duck walk" as he plays guitar on December 29, 1964 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. 

BMG has acquired a majority interest in the ARC music publishing catalog from the Fuji Music Group. ARC, the publishing arm of legendary Chess Records includes such classic songs as "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven," "I'm A Man," "Susie-Q," "At The Hop," and "Smokestack Lighting."

BMG has been administering the ARC catalog since 2010 for Fuji Music Group, which acquired the catalog in 2009. BMG serves as administrator for the entire Fuji catalog globally, except for Japan and Southeast Asia. In those territories, Fuji administrates its own catalog as well as representing the BMG publishing catalog.

"I am confident that this partnership with BMG will not only increase the commercial value of the ARC songs, but also strengthen the cultural legacy the catalog represents," Fuji Music Group Chairman Ichiro Asatsuma said in a statement.

Publishing Briefs: Sony/ATV Signs Jack Antonoff; Warner/Chappell Appoints New Promotions VP

As part of the ARC deal, BMG and FMG will seek additional acquisitions of classic copyrights. "The point here is join forces with Fuji and seek potential deals for other iconic catalogs," says BMG president of creative and marketing Laurent Hubert.

Fuji Music Group president Hico Koike said that with the combined resources of BMG and Fuji, "We look forward to expanded business opportunities for the catalog."

BMG already publishes the songs of legendary Chess producer and writer Willie Dixon, as well as the catalogs Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash. Now it has classic works by Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Dale Hawkins and others.

"The Chess brothers and their successors brought blues and rock & roll to the world, BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said in a statement. "The artists and songwriters they discovered still resonate through the decades. Both culturally and commercially, the acquisition of this majority stake in ARC is one of the most significant acquisitions in the development of BMG so far."