BMG Moves Into Live By Acquiring German Promoter Undercover


Here's to a successful future once live returns.
Julia Schoierer
– Here’s to a successful future once live returns.
From left: Maximilian Kolb, Michael Schacke and Dominique Casimir.
BMG Germany announced the signing of an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Braunschweig-based promoter Undercover GmbH. The transaction is expected to close by the end of October.
The move marks the first proper foray into live for BMG, which aims to become an alternative to the established promotion business.
As well as releasing recordings and publishing songs, BMG can now offer artists an integrated tour promotion and ticketing service. Like publishing and records, live will remain a strictly opt-in service at BMG.
The new business unit will also collaborate with other content divisions of BMG shareholder Bertelsmann in Germany, including broadcaster RTL, book publisher Penguin Random House and magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, according to the announcement.
All of Undercover’s 30 staff remain on board and continue to be led by company founder and CEO Michael Schacke, who emphasized, that “discussions about a partnership with BMG commenced long before the coronavirus pandemic, but we are now perfectly set up for when the market returns. 
“There is a significant opportunity for us working together to offer a genuine alternative for artists in Germany and beyond, building on Undercover’s established recipe of ‘live entertainment and artist partnership’.”
Schacke founded Undercover in 1991 to be able to find gigs for his own band. “That’s how I became a promoter,” he recalls. His idea grew into a successful promoter in Germany’s north, realising some 200 concerts and shows annually. 
Undercover also develops and produces its own events, and acts as an agent for national and international artists throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Maximillian Kolb, managing director BMG GSA, said, “Artists want partners who build their business around them rather than the other way around. Above all, this means offering the best possible service. 
“The German music market has proven to be extremely adaptable and is one of the strongest in the world, especially in the live segment. I am very happy that we have become the first territory within BMG to be able to offer a complete service portfolio to artists including live.”
Dominique Casimir, BMG’s EVP Repertoire & Marketing Continental Europe, said, “Moving into live is the logical extension of BMG’s plan to integrate all the services an artist could need under one roof, with the artist brand at the center of it all. Crucially, we have found in Michael Schacke and his team a partner who shares our values.”