BMG Chrysalis US has announced its acquisition of L.A.-based indie rock label Vagrant Records as part of a strategy to further build its North American new recordings business.
Vagrant co-founder Jon Cohen will become EVP Recorded Music at BMG Chrysalis US responsible both for Vagrant and for records released in the US through BMG’s ground-breaking Artist Services model.
Since its founding in 1996, Vagrant Records has signed a string of influential artists including The 1975, Eels, Bad Suns, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, PJ Harvey, School of Seven Bells, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Black Joe Lewis, Blitzen Trapper and Bombay Bicycle Club. As part of the deal, BMG is acquiring the entire Vagrant catalogue, as well as its rights to future recordings.
Laurent Hubert, President of Marketing & Creative at BMG Chrysalis North America said, “The acquisition of Vagrant Records is another milestone for BMG in the US as we build scale and capabilities in the recordings business just as we have in music publishing. Jon Cohen has built an impressive team at Vagrant, and with the support of BMG and its international infrastructure, we believe they will offer an unbeatable service both to Vagrant artists and to BMG’s Artist Services signings.”
Jon Cohen said, “It is impossible not to be impressed by what BMG has achieved in the US since it opened in the US just five short years ago. By putting service to artists at the center of its offering, BMG is committed to offering a genuine alternative to traditional label deals. Together with the rest of the Vagrant team, I look forward to further growing BMG’s presence in the recordings business.”
The acquisition of Vagrant mirrors the acquisition by BMG Chrysalis UK in September of another renowned independent record label, Infectious Music, home to alt-J.
Current Vagrant releases include the 1975’s self-titled debut album which is on course for sales of 250,000 in the US, James Vincent McMorrow who releases a deluxe version of his second album Post Tropical on November 11 and Brooke Fraser, whose fourth album Brutal Romantic is out on November 18.
Current BMG Artist Services projects include Bryan Ferry’s new album Avonmore, released in the US on November 18 and Monuments to an Elegy, Smashing Pumpkins first album through BMG, released December 9. BMG is currently working OK Go’s new video for ‘I Won’t Let You Down’, the second single from their acclaimed fourth album Hungry Ghosts. The video achieved over 10m views on You Tube in just six days.
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “We are delighted to welcome Vagrant’s artists and staff to BMG. While new technologies and ways of working continue to prove challenging to established players, BMG will continue to invest in the future of the music business, one which puts the interests of artists and songwriters at the very forefront.”