BMG Rights Management launches

Berlin-based group will focus on nontraditional distribution

COLOGNE, Germany -- Bertelsmann on Tuesday unveiled its new strategy for the music business with the launch of BMG Rights Management, a sort of stripped-down label focusing on the management of an artist rights over all media platforms.

Bertelsmann launched the Berlin-based group, headed by Hartwig Masuch, after selling its 50% stake in label Sony BMG to Sony Corp. in a deal that received final regulatory approval this month.

Unlike a traditional label, BMG's new company will have a strong focus on distribution across such nontraditional platforms as mobile and video games.

The company hopes the wide reach of Bertelsmann's media empire, which includes leading European TV and radio broadcaster the RTL Group, will provide synergies for BMG-signed artists.

BMG Rights Management is launching with recordings from more than 200 artists that BMG retained from the Sony BMG portfolio. Masuch plans to add to that, focusing first on European performers.