We catch up on the latest music publishing news, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals & Acquisitions
Primary Wave invests in India’s Times Music in deal worth $100m (MBW)
Primary Wave partners with Indian record label and music publisher, Times Music. This deal will see significant capital from Primary Wave and provide resources for catalog investments in the market.
Reservoir forms JV with American Idol producer 19 Entertainment (Music Week)
Reservoir Media formed a new joint venture with 19 Entertainment (a part of Sony Pictures Television) and will aim to sign new publishing deals with the contestants featured on the series American Idol.
Judas Priest’s First Two Albums Acquired by Reach Music (Variety)
Reach Music Publishing has acquired both the masters and publishing rights of Judas Priest’s first two albums “Rocka Rolla” and “Sad Wings of Destiny” from Gull Entertainment.
Hipgnosis acquires writer’s share of performance income from David Foster (Music Week)
Hipgnosis Song Management has acquired writers share of performance income for all songs written by songwriter, composer, musician, arranger and producer David Foster.
Position Music sells minority equity stake in itself to Vesper Company (Billboard)
Position Music has sold a minority equity stake in itself to Vesper Company – a private investment firm. Alongside this Position also has a new revolver credit facility from Pinnacle Bank.
Wise Music Group has acquired controlling interest in Edition Peters Group (Creative Industries News)
Independent Music Publishing Company Wise Music Group has acquired a controlling interest in classical music publishing house Edition Peters Group (EPG). Wise will now own EPG in partnership with Christian Hinrichsen.
Armin Van Buuren’s Armada Music launches $100m catalog-buying fund (MBW)
They have already acquired the master recordings catalog of KMS Records and the master and publishing catalogs of ARTY aka Alpha 9.
Digital sheet-music startup Enote raises €10m funding round (Music Ally)
The digital sheet music company, Enote, has raised €10 million in a pre-series A funding round – with plans to use it for developing its app. The investment comes 18-months after it was launched on Apple’s App Store attracting 70,000+ musicians.
Reactional Music has closed $2 million funding round (Music Week)
Reactional Music has closed a $2.05 million funding round led by mobile music games publisher Amanotes and venture capital firm Butterfly Ventures.
UMPG signs Maggie Rogers to global publishing deal (Music Week)
Universal Music Publishing Group has signed producer, songwriter and recording artist Maggie Rogers to an exclusive, global publishing agreement.
Pulse Music Group forms joint venture with rapper and publishing client Cordae (Billboard)
Pulse Music Groups joint venture with Cordae will see him become the head of his own publishing company – HI-LEVEL Publishing – signing and developing his own roster of recording artists, songwriters, and producers.
Peermusic UK signs Tom Ford to global publishing deal (Music Week)
Tom Ford, who has previously written, performed and worked with Idris Elba, Sam Barsh, Johannes Klahr etc has signed an exclusive, global music publishing deal with Peermusic UK.
Warner Chappell signs Oliver Tree to global publishing deal (Music Week)
Oliver Tree who has more than two billion streams, one billion views across his music videos and has collaborated with Robin Schulz has signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell.
Facts & Figures
Independent music publishing sector valued at €2.8 billion (Synchtank)
Global music publishing market was worth €7.68bn in 2021, with the independent sector accounting for 27.1% of the total, says IMPF (Independent Music Publishers International Forum).
Kobalt posted a $21.9m operating profit in FY 2022, up 71% YoY (MBW)
Kobalt Music Group’s annual revenues for FY 2022 is up 21.5% YoY. Kobalt’s publishing division grew net revenue by 20.8% YoY to $577.8 million in FY 2022. It’s global digital collection society, AMRA, annual revenues of $117.3 million which is up 6.8% YoY.
All three major music publishers gained market share in 2021 (MBW)
The three major music companies – Sony Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner Chappell Music – accounted for 59.9% of the global publishing market in 2021.
Round Hill Music Revenue Up 32% in 2022, Driven By Strong Rights Management & Synch Business (Billboard)
Annual revenue for Round Hill Music Royalty Fund grew 32% to $32.4 million in 2022. Driven by their rights management and synchronization business, coupled with underlying growth in the global recorded-music industry.
Universal generated $2.6 billion in Q1 (MBW)
Universal’s Music Publishing division, Universal Music Publishing Group, generated revenues of €425 million ($456.02m) in Q1 2023. That was up 11.5% YoY at constant currency.
Ed Sheeran fights accusations of copying Marvin Gaye song in NY court (MBW)
Ed Sheeran defended himself against the allegations of copying ‘Let’s Get It On’, saying in court, “If I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be quite an idiot”.
After Fake Drake Debacle, Expect More AI Songs. But Are They Legal? (Billboard)
Artists and labels have legal tools to fight fakes created by artificial intelligence, but massive questions about AI-generated music loom unanswered.
Italy’s competition watchdog orders Meta to resume negotiations with collecting society SIAE (MBW)
Italy’s competition watchdog has taken interim measures against Facebook and Instagram parent, Meta, over its alleged abuse of position in the country in relation to music rights.
peermusic and the Malcolm McLaren estate sue Sony Music Publishing (CMU)
peermusic and the company that controls music created by the late Malcom McLaren have sued Sony Music Publishing in a dispute over an interpolation in Lizzo’s track ‘About Damn Time’.
Gap Band estates drop royalties lawsuit against BMG (CMU)
BMG announced that the lawsuit filed against them by two thirds of The Gap Band has been withdrawn without any settlement or payment on its part.
Royalties & CMOs
Believe acquires Sentric from Utopia (Music Week)
In its move to become a digital-first music publishing business, Believe acquired Sentric from Utopia – which was valued at €47 million.
PRS for Music reports record breaking revenues and distributions (PRS for Music)
Last year, PRS for Music paid out an unprecedented £836.2m of royalties, a 23.5% (£159m) increase on 2021. The quarterly distribution in October alone was in excess of £211m, the largest single distribution in the organisation’s 108-year history.
PRS For Music partners with Orfium (Music Week)
This partnership expands PRS’s licensing coverage to music users based in Africa, providing access to tens of millions of works.
German collection society GEMA’s revenues rose 13% YoY (MBW)
GEMA reports to have achieved its best-ever results in 2022 – the total revenues for the financial year were $1.238 billion at annual average exchange rates as per the IRS.
Snapchat strikes new music licensing deals with UnitedMasters, BUMA/STEMRA and more (MBW)
Snapchat has signed new music licensing deals with a number of music distributors and rightsholders across the globe to further expand its music library.
AMR Songs appoint Jonathan McHugh as Senior Advisor Creative and Sync (CMU)
Music publishing and rights management company AMR Songs has appointed filmmaker and music supervisor Jonathan McHugh to the role of Senior Advisor Creative And Sync – he will also sit on the company’s board.
Utopia Media lays off 15% of its workforce (Music Ally)
After moving through a period of intricate change – buying and selling Sentric and Rostr, layoffs in November 2022, and being sued by SourceAudio – Utopia has reported to lay off another 100 people.
Concord ups Jeff Van Driel to GM of international operations, John Minch moves to advocacy role (Music Week)
Concord has revealed a planned transition at the top of its international music publishing business.
Claire McAuley promoted to EVP, Global Rights Management at Warner Chappell Music (MBW)
Claire McAuley has been promoted to Executive Vice president Global Rights Management at WCM. She will remain based in London and report to Carianne Marshall, Co-Chair and Chief Operating Officer of WCM.