BMG has further strengthened its interest in NENA’s catalogue including the band’s worldwide smash hit ’99 Luftballons’ which, 40 years after release, remains the highest-charting German language hit in the US charts to date.

BMG has acquired singer Nena’s US recording copyright and ROW artist royalties, in addition to three band members’ artist shares, to add to its existing shares in the catalogue. It is BMG’s 27th music rights acquisition so far this year.

’99 Luftballons‘ became an unprecedented worldwide German language success in 1983/84, just two years after the band formed in then West Berlin as part of the German New Wave (“Neue Deutsche Welle”) movement.

The German language original went to #1 in nine countries and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following year the English language version ’99 Red Ballons’ went to #1 in the UK and Canada.

The song, with music by Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen and lyrics by Carlo Karges, told a story of a cloud of 99 red balloons being mistaken for UFOs and accidentally sparking a cataclysmic war; it resonated powerfully with a Cold War audience. Current statistics show that the song has been streamed nearly 400m times on Spotify alone.

In a statement the band said: “NENA’s journey with ‘99 Luftballons’ has been a remarkable one, and we are thrilled with BMG’s investment in the band’s catalogue. This song has been a symbol of peace across borders, and we look forward to seeing it continue to resonate with audiences around the world. BMG's commitment to preserving and promoting our musical legacy aligns perfectly with the spirit of '99 Luftballons’.” 

The catalogue also includes other NENA hits including ‘Nur geträumt’, 'Leuchtturm', 'Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann' and '? (Fragezeichen)'.

Maximilian Kolb, EVP Repertoire & Marketing Continental Europe, said: “We could not pass up the opportunity to increase our stake in one of the most iconic catalogues in German music and a rare German language international hit. ’99 Luftballons’ really is a genuine classic.” 

NENA was founded in 1982 in Berlin, consisting of Nena (singer), Rolf Brendel (drums), Carlo Karges (guitar), Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen (keyboards) and Jürgen Dehmel (bass). The band broke up in 1987 and Nena pursued a solo career.

BMG has released four Nena solo albums, Made in Germany (2009), Made in Germany - live (2010), Du Bist Gut (2012) and Oldschool (2015). Tickets are currently on sale for her 2024 Wir gehören zusammen (“We belong together’) tour through Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.