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BMG sales climb 20% in fiscal year

Bertelsmann Music Group Monday reported a 20% increase in sales for its fiscal year ending June 30, claiming revenues of$ 3 billion.

The music and entertainment division of German media giant Bertelsmann AG said that sales outside the U.S. of $ 2 billion were attributable to the worldwide success of its Arista Records label, the development of joint venture partnerships, and the rise of BMG Direct, the company’s domestic U.S. club businesses.

The division also claimed its U.S. market share has grown by 3.5% over the previous year to 13%.

The Arista soundtrack to the film “The Bodyguard,” Kenny G’s Arista album “Breathless,” and music from Annie Lennox (Arista), SWV (RCA) and David Bowie contributed to the surge.

Internationally, BMG’s first-quarter market share in territories outside the U.S. rose to 17.2%, from its 1992 calendar year market share of 15.6%.

Significant contributions to the gains were made by U.K. artist Lisa Stansfield, Japan’s B’z, Italy’s Eros Ramazzotti, Belgium’s Vaya Con Dios, Spain’s Juan Luis Guerra, and Germany’s Die Prinzen.

BMG Intl. posted its greatest growth in the Asia/Pacific region, where sales increased by 44%, according to BMG. The licensing and marketing of the MCA/Geffen/GRP catalog, which BMG handles in most international territories, also weighed heavily in the overall numbers. The licensees include Guns N’ Roses , Nirvana, Aerosmith, Bobby Brown and Cher.

Michael Dornemann, chairman/CEO of BMG, said: “The results surpassed our expectations, and our performance illustrates BMG’s steady growth in an increasingly competitive global market. Since 1990, we have increased our worldwide market share from 12% to 14% for 1993.”

Rudi Gassner, president/CEO of BMG Intl., said, “The company will continue to implement our long-term strategy of substantial A&R investment and joint venture deals with local companies whose artists complement the BMG mix of repertoire around the world.”

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