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BMG Exits Live Music Business By Selling Its Stakes In Undercover and Karo

BMG is getting out of the live music business. The German music company agreed to sell its stakes in two live music companies, Undercover and Karo, to the minority shareholders, the company announced Friday (Dec. 22).

The move comes less than a month after the company said it would focus on its core recorded music and publishing businesses and announced a new organizational structure. “Fifteen years after the emergence of streaming, music is going through another tectonic change,” new CEO Thomas Coesfeld, who replaced Hartwig Masuch as CEO in July, said at the time. “It is vital we now reengineer our business to make the most of that opportunity.

In an interview with Billboard in October, Coesfeld talked about adopting a more streamlined business model. “I’m truly convinced we can only be effective if we are not focusing too much on ourselves — not building too much resources internally — but instead focusing on the value creation and service delivery for the artists and songwriters.”

A few years ago, BMG wanted to provide more than recorded music and publishing services to artists. The company made its first foray into live music in 2020 by acquiring a majority stake in concert promoter Undercover. The deal was “the logical extension of BMG’s plan to integrate all the services an artist could need under one roof,” BMG executive vp of repertoire & marketing Continental Europe Dominique Casimir explained at the time. The following year, BMG acquired a majority stake in Karo, best known for its Taubertal-Festival.

In a statement, Michael Schacke, founder/owner of Undercover, called the new deal “the best solution for Undercover and our artists. Undercover will remain strong and independent in the future. We wish BMG and its team all the best and every success in focusing on its core business.”

“It has been a pleasure working with Michael Schacke and Dominique Casimir and we are pleased yet again to be pursuing an independent course as we near the 30th year of existence of Taubertal in 2026,” added Volker Hirsch, founder/owner of Karo.

“Michael Schacke (Undercover) and Volker Hirsch (Karo) are seasoned entrepreneurs who have built enviable reputations in the live music business,” said Dominique Casimir, who was promoted to chief content officer at BMG last year. “We are pleased to have agreed terms which allow them to pursue an independent future and we wish them and their teams the best for the future.”

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