BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch on the Rolling Stones Deal (Q&A)

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch

BMG today announced  that the Germany-based rights management company will represent the Rolling Stones' post-1983 catalog and and will also track payments from the duo’s previous copyrights owned by ABKCO (1963-1971) and EMI Music Publishing (1971-1983). Billboard.biz spoke with BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch about how the deal came about, the personnel behind the agreement and what it means for the expanding music company.

Billboard: How long did the negotiations with the Stones and their management take?
Hartwig Masuch: This was a very intense process, and as far as we know the management [compared] us with the biggest companies in the business. They were highly selective, and we were impressed by the level of detail they went into.

How many songs are there altogether in the publishing catalog?
We publish about 100 songs directly. In addition, we will handle all of Mick Jagger and Keith Richard’s [writer's income] in the songs they have written for the Rolling Stones dating back to 1963 together with rights for future songs.

BMG To Represent Rolling Stones Catalog

How were rights obtained from different publishers consolidated?
To clarify this: We are directly publishing – with 100% worldwide control – the songs Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have written since 1983, but in addition we are also representing their interests in the songs they wrote between 1963 and 1971, which are published by ABKCO and the songs they wrote between 1971 and 1983, which are published by EMI Music Publishing.

What was the purchase price?
This a worldwide publishing and service agreement not a purchase, concluded by Alexi Cory-Smith, SVP of BMG Chrysalis UK, together with her VP of Marketing and Licensing, Gareth Smith.

What does this deal mean for BMG?
It means that one of the most outstanding songwriting partnerships in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, who could pretty much have the pick of world’s music publishers, have chosen BMG, a company which has grown from a start-up into the world’s fourth biggest music publisher in less than five years.

Will there be any other major deals in 2013?
I hope so! There are other writers and artists whom we believe will be attracted to our service, and there are always opportunities in the market.

How high will BMG's total revenues be in 2013?
We can tell you by the end of the year.