BMG Purchases Union Square Music

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch

BMG has acquired U.K. record label Union Square Music as well as that company's music publishing arms, Union Square Music Publishing and USM Songs.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Union Square (founded in 1999) is a leading label in the U.K., releasing about 150 artist and compilation albums annually, with a catalog including albums it owns or has exclusively licensed from such artists as Madness, Gilbert O' Sullivan, Sandie Shaw, Marmalade, Procol Harum, Kirst MacColl, the Belle Stars, and M, as well as the original Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The seller, Union Square founder Peter Stack will remain running the business reporting into BMG's U.K. operation BMG Chrysalis UK.

Moreover, Union Square also represents the ZTT label (Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and Art of Noise); Stiff (Tenpole udder and Tracey Ullman), Peer Music (the Flowerport Men), and such labels as Savoy Jazz, Denon Classics, Tappan Zee, Skye Gryphon and the Cuban state-owned label Egrem (Ibrahim Ferrer).

The Union Square publishing catalog songs written by Russ Ballard, Nazareth, the FARM, Charles Mingus, Swing Out Sister, Syd Barrett, Nick Lowe, Hawkwind, the Damned, and Eddie & the Hot Rods; while USM songs also represents the Plangent Visions Music catalog worldwide, which includes songs written by the Specials and such hits as Mike & the Mechanics "Over My Shoulder," and the Go Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed."

In addition, USM Songs represents the Plangent Visions Music catalogue worldwide including The Specials/The Specials AKA and hits such as Mike & The MechanicsOver My Shoulder and Our Lips Are Sealed (Fun Boy Three, The Go Go’s).

"This acquisition marks another significant milestone in BMG’s development as we seek to achieve similar scale in the recordings business as we already have in music publishing," BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said in a statement. "Peter Stack and the Union Square team have established an unrivaled reputation in the music industry for their respectful, artist-friendly approach to catalogue marketing and as such are a perfect fit with BMG. We look forward to working with Peter to create an even more significant catalogue business based on delivering value for artists and rights-owners."

BMG says that thanks to the deal its recording masters catalog, which also includes the catalogs of Sanctuary Records, Mute Records and Stricktly Rhythm, now has 300,000 recordings (about 30,000 albums) and 2 million songs.

In September this year, BMG Chrysalis U.K. acquired British independent label Infectious Music, whose roster includes Alt-J, The Temper Trap, DZ Deathrays and Drenge. Combining music publishing and recording rights, BMG now represents around two million copyrights in total.

Union Square's Stack said in a statement "The combination of our expertise in marketing and exploitation and BMG’s significant catalogues is a win-win deal for BMG, Union Square and all of our artists and licensors. BMG have clearly demonstrated their ambition to grow their recordings business and the addition of their infrastructure and international network will allow us to offer an even better service to artists and labels."