Sony Music Acquires German Hard Rock Label Century Media Records

Michael Wilton
Donald Bowers/Getty Images

Michael Wilton of Queensryche performs ''Operation: Mindcrime'' at the Nokia Theater in Times Square on September 21, 2006 in New York City. 

Sony Music Entertainment has acquired German hard music company Century Media Records, the company confirmed. The deal, first reported Music Business Worldwide, has been in the works for months.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, sources say that Century Media and its family of labels, generate about $12 million in revenue, including $5 million from the U.S. Sources say Sony paid about $20 million for the company, whose roster includes such artists as Lacuna Coil, Arch Enemy, Queensrÿche, Kansas, Devin Townsend, Steve Hackett and Stitched Up Heart.

Sony Music's Revenue Bump Last Quarter Caused By Strong Dollar

The deal further enhances Sony's presence in the hard rock/heavy metal market. In the U.S., as a distributor, Sony Music Entertainment is the No. 1 major with 33.6% in album market share, including Century Media.

As part of the deal, owner Robert Kampf will service as CEO of the Century group, and the label will continued to be distributed by RED in the U.S.; while Sony will pick up international distribution as well. While the label group will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, sources say the deal did not include the company's music publishing assets.

In a statement, RED Distribution president Bob Morelli said in a statement the deal will further strengthen the company's successful partnership with Kamp and his team through Sony's expanded global relationship. 

'Russian Facebook' Settles Piracy Dispute With Sony Music

"Century is one of the best hard rock labels in the business and Robert is an accomplished executive who understands the genre like few others," Morelli said. "We are excited to continue working with Century to grow the business for their talented roster of artists."

Sony Music Entertainment executive VP of international, Adam Granite, said in a statement that the deal will provide "a tremendous opportunity to grow our respective hard rock and heavy metal businesses globally."

Kampf will report to both Granite and Dennis Kooker, Sony Music Entertainment president of global digital business and U.S. sales. Kampf founded Century Media in 1988 and eventually co-owned the label with Oliver Withöft, who passed away in January 2014 at the age of 49.

"The company I founded over 25 years ago is moving into its strongest chapter yet with the best music company in the world, Sony Music," Kampf said in a statement. He added, by working with Sony and RED, it will allow Century's labels "to further grow…as a dominant force in rock, prog, alternative and metal.