BMG has reportedly parted ways with Rogers Waters in the wake of his controversial statements about Israel and Ukraine. The news was first reported by Variety, which was tipped off by unnamed sources.
The German company was set to release a newly-recorded version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, but CEO Thomas Coesfeld reportedly axed the project after taking the reins in July 2023. The album ended up coming out on the British label Cooking Vinyl instead.
Waters has long been an outspoken critic of Israel, but his comments have gotten more attention amid the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza. The songwriter has frequently been accused of crossing into the realm of antisemitism, but he and his supporters have vigorously denied this.
Waters has previously spoken about the end of his relationship with BMG. "They fired me," he said during a November 2023 interview with Glenn Greenwald.
The musician claimed that the company made the decision following pressure from Israel supporters, but sources with ties to BMG disputed that in the Variety article and countered that Coesfeld made the decision on his own.
BMG's parent company Bertelsmann released a statement in support of Israel following Hamas' attack on Oct. 7.
Waters also made headlines in February 2023 when he contended that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was "provoked" during a speech for the United Nations Security Council. Russia invited Waters to speak in front of the body.
This came after other former members of Pink Floyd reunited in 2022 to write a song in support of Ukraine. "Hey Hey, Rise Up!" samples an impromptu performance by Andriy Khlyvnyuk, a member of Ukrainian rock band BoomBox who joined his nation's military following the invasion.
"Let’s just say I was disappointed and let’s move on," David Gilmour told The Guardian of controversial statements Waters had already made at the time. "Read into that what you will."
The songwriter's outspoken nature has been causing friction with his former bandmates for years.
Several companies have reportedly expressed interest in buying Pink Floyd's catalog, but were turned off by the controversy Waters has courted.
The band's first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn came out in 1967. The group saw commercial success in the years that followed, but didn't become a household name until the mid-1970s.
The 1973 LP Dark Side of The Moon from was certified platinum more than a dozen times over in the U.S. and the U.K. after making it to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Pink Floyd's 1975 follow up Wish You Were Here was also a smashing commercial success.
Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985 after releasing his first solo album The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking the year prior. Shortly thereafter, he and the remaining band members became embroiled in a legal battle regarding the use of the Pink Floyd name.
The singer and bassist comes from a political family. Both his parents were members of the Communist Party, The Times reported.