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Music publisher BMG taps into Google Cloud to manage and analyse streaming data processes

Berlin-based record label and music publisher BMG is drawing on Google Cloud to revamp its infrastructure to accommodate the music industry's continued shift towards streaming

Music publisher and record label BMG has enlisted the help of Google Cloud to digitally transform and position its business so it is better placed to adapt to changing consumer habits.

The Berlin-based firm represents a diverse array of music artists across the world, some of whom are relative newcomers to the industry, whereas others have been making music for several decades, including the likes of Kylie Minogue, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden to name a few.

Against a backdrop of declining physical media sales, including CDs and LPs, BMG has plotted a revamp of the IT infrastructure underpinning its global operations to make it easier for the firm to accommodate the shift in consumer demand for music streaming services.

According to data from the 2019 edition of the IFPI’s Global music report, streaming now accounts for 56% of music sales globally, and the digitisation of BMG’s artist music catalogues means the amount of data the company now has to manage has grown exponentially in recent years.

For example, it is claimed that streaming generates 1,500 to 2,000 times the number of data transactions that listening to physical albums does, with each stream generating an amount of income for the artist that BMG needs to keep track of.

“To pay its artists, songwriters and other rights holders, BMG must process the billions of lines of income it receives from around the world – across platforms, streaming services, radio, television and many other sources,” the company said in a joint statement with Google Cloud.

To assist it with this work, the company is in the throes of migrating 1,500 components, servers and databases to the Google Cloud platform.

“With its modelling data in Google Cloud, BMG can then more easily explore previous data points such as popularity of certain downloads among device types and ultimately discover new revenue opportunities,” the statement continued.

As an example of how BMG is making use of the Google Cloud portfolio of tools, the company is using its serverless data warehouse offering BigQuery in combination with open source data analytics tool Dataproc to manage the compute resources needed to run its royalty processing tasks.

The combination of these two technologies makes it possible for BMG to scale its royalty processing procedures in line with demand, and ensure the artists it represents are reimbursed when their music is used in an accurate and timely manner, while helping the firm keep a lid on costs.

“BMG is at its heart a service company for artists and songwriters, and we are constantly optimising our business to improve that service and deliver it more efficiently,” said Gaurav Mittal, vice-president of group technology at BMG.

“With the move to Google Cloud, we can now tap into relevant data across the music lifecycle with smarter analytics tools, to benefit our artist and songwriter clients.”

BMG is the latest in a long line of customers from the media and entertainment space that Google has signed up to use its cloud, including ITV, Sky, Spotify and CBS Interactive.  

Anil Jain, managing director for media and entertainment industry solutions at Google Cloud, said the shift from consumers relying on physical media to streaming services has prompted many firms in the music, film and TV industry to rethink how they use IT.

To this point, the Google Cloud partnership has resulted in BMG making use of the public cloud giant’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to inform its clients’ marketing campaigns, by making it easier for them to source music for use in adverts, films and television shows.

“The rise in digital media means that content companies have to play an increasing importance in data analytics,” said Jain. “We’re thrilled to work with BMG and are looking forward to collaborating on the innovative ways our data-driven solutions can help the company drive new revenue streams and scale its business.”

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