We catch up on this week’s music publishing news, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals & Acquisitions
David Crosby sells catalog to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group, including recorded music and publishing rights (MBW)
Iconic Artists has acquired Crosby’s publishing and recorded music rights, comprising his solo work, as well as his work with The Byrds; Crosby & Nash; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Big Machine Taps Peermusic to Sub-Publish Song Catalog Outside U.S. (Billboard)
Nashville-based Big Machine Music (BMM) has linked with fellow independent publisher peermusic on a long-term sub-publishing agreement, under which peermusic will represent BMM’s catalog of more than 12,000 songs in all worldwide territories excluding the U.S.
Universal Music spent $1.7bn on catalog buys and artist advances in 2020 (MBW)
In the year before it goes public in Amsterdam, Universal splashed a whole lot of money locking in new deals with superstars, and buying up music catalogs.
Warner Chappell France teams with songwriter Benjamin Biolay’s publishing company Bambi Rose (MBW)
Matthieu Tessier, Managing Director, Warner Chappell Music France, said: “Benjamin is a true legend of the French music scene.”
Legendary songwriter Don Black renews global deal with Sony Music Publishing UK (Music Week)
Don Black has worked on a host of most iconic songs from James Bond theme songs such as Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man With The Golden Gun and The World is Not Enough.
Feid Inks Global Deal With Universal Music Publishing Group (Billboard)
The Colombian singer-songwriter, born Salomon Villada Hoyos, has a catalog of nearly 200 songs and has collaborated with some of Latin music’s biggest artists.
Grammy-winning producer & songwriter J. White Did It inks global deal with Sony Music Publishing (MBW)
J. White Did It, aka Anthony Jermaine White, is a Grammy-winning record producer and songwriter, known for his collaborations with Cardi B, having produced her chart-topping singles Bodak Yellow, I Like It ft. J Balvin and Bad Bunny, and Money.
UMPG signs ‘world-class songwriter’ Holly Humberstone (Music Week)
Holly Humberstone finished second in the BBC Sound of 2021 poll, and was last week included on BBC Radio 1’s 2021 Brit List. She also featured on Amazon Music UK’s Ones To Watch 2021 and Vevo Dscvr’s Artists To Watch 2021.
Warner Chappell Music signs publishing deal with Bad Bunny collaborator MAG (MBW)
Last year, he executive produced Bad Bunny’s No.1 album, El Último Tour del Mundo, which made history as the first all-Spanish language album to reach the top spot on the chart.
Concord Music Publishing sign Wesley Joseph (Music Week)
Concord Music Publishing has today (March 8) announced the signing of rising British star Wesley Joseph to a new global multi-year publishing agreement.
Zara Larsson signs to Sony Music Publishing (CMU)
Ahead of the release of her new album ‘Poster Girl’ this week, Sony Music Publishing has announced that it has signed Zara Larsson to a new global deal.
Manuel Turizo, Julian Turizo, Jay Wheeler & More Sign With Sony Publishing (Billboard)
Cazzu, Nicki Nicole, Bizarrap, C. Tangana and Kany García also sign worldwide publishing agreements with Sony Music Publishing Latin.
Launches & New Ventures
Sony Music Publishing launches in Indonesia, led by General Manager Anti Ariandini (MBW)
According to a release, the autonomous SMPI, headed up by General Manager Anti Ariandini, will be “dedicated to the development and promotion of Indonesian songwriters both locally and around the world”.
Apple Music Launches Songwriter Spotlight ‘Behind The Songs’ (Billboard)
Apple Music is rolling out a new hub specifically created to spotlight songwriters, producers, publishers and session musicians, which it is calling Behind The Songs.
Sony Music Publishing Teams With Silence the Shame on Mental Health Program (Billboard)
Sony Music Publishing has teamed with the mental health nonprofit Silence the Shame on a new multi-year program that aims to expand mental health resources to its songwriters and employees.
Facts & Figures
Women in Music Dwindled in 2020 (Rolling Stone)
USC’s annual study finds that the number of women writing and performing hit songs became even more sparse last year, narrowing to as low as 2% in the producing field.
Universal Music Group’s revenues grew by 3.8% in 2020 (Music Ally)
UMG’s revenues for the year grew by 3.8% to €7.43bn (around $8.95bn) – or by 4.7% when calculated as ‘organic growth’. Within that, UMG’s recorded music revenues grew by 5.9% to €5.97bn, although that increase was outgunned by a 12.7% rise in revenues for Universal’s music publishing business, to €1.19bn.
Finance & Investment
Why Music Back Catalogs Have Become a Red-Hot Asset Class (Bloomberg)
On the latest Odd Lots, we speak with Alaister Moughan, an independent music valuation expert, about why this booming market is happening now.
Anthem Entertainment Attracts New Equity Investment (FYI Music News)
The acquisitive Canadian music rights and services company – formerly known as Olé Entertainment – has announced that it has secured a new revolving credit facility of USD $400 million, plus a USD $150 million accordion.
Royalties & CMOs
ASCAP payouts to songwriters and publishers grew in pandemic 2020 – but it was the smallest increase in 5 years (MBW)
That’s positive news for a music business that might have feared Covid’s impact on these numbers would have seen payouts go into decline. However, the margin of the increase, at just +$29 million (to $1.213 billion), was the smallest YoY jump in annual payouts by ASCAP for half a decade.
CMRRA Expands To Collect International Mechanical Royalties (FYI Music News)
The Canadian Mechanical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) is working with new global partners to provide music publishers and self-published songwriters an option to use the agency as a one-stop for international licensing and royalty collections.
Songtrust turns 10, expands royalty collection coverage to 98% of global music market (Hypebot)
Songtrust is turning ten years old in 2021 representing 3 million songs by 350,000 songwriters from 145 countries. Royalties paid by Songtrust to its clients grew by more than 185% annually from 2019 to 2020.
PRS releases new figures on the ongoing gender imbalance within the society (CMU)
In new figures published to coincide with International Women’s Day, PRS says that last year 1971 women registered with the society. That’s nearly double the 1097 who signed up in 2018, and also a 12.3% increase on sign-ups in 2019. However, 81.7% of PRS’s membership is male.
Belgian society Sabam allies with ICE on digital licensing (CMU)
Belgian song rights collecting society Sabam has allied with copyright hub ICE on its digital licensing. It means the Sabam repertoire will now be part of the ICE Core licence.
Jaxsta adds Kobalt data to its music credit database (The Music Network)
Kobalt will provide it with publisher data to enhance Jaxsta’s official music credits data information.
SoundCloud launches ‘transformative’ user-centric payments system (Music Week)
SoundCloud is making the move from a market share royalties model to a user-centric system for 100,000 independent and emerging artists.
Spanish authors’ society SGAE re-admitted to CISAC following reforms (MBW)
Spanish authors’ society SGAE has been re-admitted to CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, following its expulsion back in May 2019.
Hirings & Promotions
Micki Stern promoted to SVP of Clearance and Sync Licensing at Warner Chappell Music (MBW)
In her new role, Stern will focus on helping to drive Warner Chappell’s licensing strategy forward with the goal of finding new opportunities that add value to songwriters at all stages of their careers.
Maree Hamblion promoted to Senior Vice President, International A&R at Sony Music Publishing (MBW)
Based in the company’s Australia office, Hamblion reports to MD, Scandinavia and SVP A&R, Europe Johnny Tennander and Managing Director, Australia Damian Trotter.
Hipgnosis Songs Poaches Publishing Vet Richard Rowe (Billboard)
Rowe joins the acquisitive company from Round Hill Music, the business he co-founded in 2010 alongside CEO Josh Gruss and its president Neil Gillis.
Sony Music Publishing ups Tom Foley to SVP (Music Week)
Sony Music Publishing has promoted Tom Foley to SVP, worldwide portfolio management and analysis. Based in the company’s Nashville office, Foley reports to Sony Music Publishing global chief financial officer Tom Kelly.
Why Spotify’s ex-Global Head of Music Publishing thinks streaming services should be paying songwriters more money (MBW)
The following MBW op/ed comes from Adam Parness, the former Global Head of Music Publishing at Spotify from 2017 to 2019.
The importance of rights’ management – Capturing all the value in music (ANote Music)
Better understanding and new technologies are making recent times look brighter and are improving drastically how everything gets managed within the music world.
‘The death of the artist’? Why Big Hit and BTS just raised the alarm on the record industry’s future (MBW)
“I think we’re seeing the death of the artist. Songs are fully alive [but] I think we’re hitting a point in time where it’s going to be more and more difficult to have follow-up hits for an artist. I see it happening.”
Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey Want to Fix the Music Business. Can They? (Bloomberg)
Two billionaires meet on a yacht. One is a bearded technology mogul who runs a microblogging website and payments company, while the other is a rapper turned multi-hyphenate entrepreneur.
Music NFTs Have Gone Mainstream. Who’s In? (Rolling Stone)
Shawn Mendes, Grimes, and Tory Lanez are just a few celebrities who’ve jumped aboard the crypto train to release exclusive digital goods — turning the Internet into a futuristic, fine-art auction house on crack
The 10 most innovative music companies of 2021 (Fast Company)
Here are the 10 companies that have elevated the music industry in ways that will have a lasting impact beyond the economic and social tumult of 2020.
IMPF panel explores the state of the music assets market and ponders the future of music publishing (Legrand Network)
The Independent Music Publishers Intentional Forum (IMPF) held its virtual General Assembly on March 5, which was followed by a session focusing on the state of music publishing in 2020-21 and the market for music assets.
Only £100 for writing a Kylie song – can that be right? (The Telegraph)
As John Wilson pointed out in the fascinating The Price of Song (Radio 4, Tuesday), we’re listening to pop just as much as ever, if not more. So why is it that the people who write and perform the songs aren’t always the ones who benefit from them financially?
The music business in 2021: Joining the dots (MIDiA)
It has been one of those weeks, with impactful music business announcements coming thick and fast. As is often the case, a succession of apparently unrelated events actually have a connecting thread.
Who Really Wrote Your Favorite Song? It’s Complicated (WSJ)
Problems with songwriting splits are growing at a time when music-copyright ownership is more desirable than ever.
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