HITS Daily Double
"All we have planned and predicted is delivering."
——Rolf Schmidt-Holtz: BMG Chairman/CEO


The Germans are on a Roll, as Promised, Even as Merger Hopes Fade
For the second time in as many weeks, Bertelsmann’s BMG has five of the Top 10 albums in the country.

Last week, it was Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Arista) at #1, Dido’s Life for Rent (Arista) at #3, Dave MatthewsSome Devil (RCA) at #5, Martina McBride’s Martina (RCA Nashville) at #7 and R. Kelly’s The “R” in R&B: Collection, Vol. 1 (Jive).

On the current chart, BMG has four of the Top 5 as well, with Outkast at #2, the new Elvis Presley compilation, Elvis: 2nd to None (BMG Heritage) at #3, Dido at #4, Dave Matthews at #5 and R. Kelly at #7. This week alone, those five albums alone account for over 662k albums sold.

And now, here comes American Idol heartthrob Clay Aiken, whose RCA debut, Measure of a Man hit the streets yesterday and is expected to sell well over 600k in its first week.

It’s a monster showing for a company that recently reported a $127 million loss for the first half and explained that loss in part by saying its release schedule was geared toward the later months of the year. Two weeks into the fourth quarter, BMG’s second half is indeed looking considerably brighter. And with albums from The Strokes, Sarah McLachlan, Pink, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys and others due in the coming weeks, the group's strong momentum will likely continue.

That momentum comes at a time when BMG’s merger hopes have apparently faded, with the collapse of Bertelsmann’s talks with Time Warner over a music-group joint venture. TW is now said to be close to inking a deal to sell most of Warner Music Group to EMI. BMG has been rumored to be approaching Sony about a possible combination, but so far, nothing has materialized.

Nevertheless, BMG Chairman/CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz is beaming: "All we have planned and predicted is delivering," he tells the Los Angeles Times, while in today’s New York Post, he says, “We already had an ambitious target, but this surprises us positively. Every album we've put out has done better than we expected."