Music Rights company BMG is reportedly to drop Roger Waters’ over his BGM*:
BMG is to part ways with Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd co-founder whose inflammatory comments about Israel, Ukraine and the United States have caused no shortage of controversy, Variety has learned. The German-based company signed a publishing agreement with the musician in 2016 and was scheduled to release a newly recorded version of Pink Floyd’s epochal 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon” last year, but new CEO Thomas Coesfeld nixed the deal after taking up his new post on July 1, 2023. The album ultimately came out through U.K.-based Cooking Vinyl.
Now, sources tell Variety that BMG is preparing to separate entirely from the veteran musician.
While Waters’ work with Pink Floyd is indisputably one of the most significant and lucrative catalogs of the rock era, his controversial political statements in recent years arguably have veered from anti-Zionism into antisemitism, and last year he spoke to the United Nations Security Council at Russia’s invitation, claiming that its 2022 invasion of Ukraine was “not unprovoked.” Waters has been widely criticized for his comments but has remained defiant, voicing them frequently on his recent tours while disputing any allegations of antisemitism. Those statements have infuriated his former bandmates, as they have driven off several suitors interested in acquiring the wizening band’s recorded-music catalog, which was said to be on the market for half a billion dollars.
Waters himself spoke of being “fired” by BMG in a video interview with Glenn Greenwald last November, although the news was buried some 24 minutes into the conversation and followed a long, familiar tirade in which the musician characterized his split with the company as the result of pressure from pro-Israeli interests toward BMG’s parent company Bertelsmann; Waters has spoken often of conspiracies against him publicizing his beliefs, particularly in a 2022 Rolling Stone interview. A source tells Variety that BMG does not agree with Waters’ version of events — he seemed to be referencing the Creative Community for Peace’s open letter calling for the company to “reconsider” its relationship with the musician” — and that Coesfeld, who is a member of the family that controls Bertelsmann, would certainly have discussed the matter with them, made the decision on his own. Bertelsmann issued a statement expressing “solidarity with Israel” shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on the country.
While it is common for artists to be “dropped” from their recording contracts by record companies, it is a far less frequent occurence for major publishing deals.
Here’s the part of the Greenwald interview where Waters makes sh*t up about why BMG fired him:
as opposed to the rest of the interview where Waters is making sh*t up about Israel.
*Big Gaping Mouth