We catch up on this week’s music publishing news, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals and Acquisitions
Hipgnosis Songs Fund acquires 50% stake in RZA catalog (MBW)
RZA, founder member of the Wu-Tang Clan, has sold Hipgnosis a 50% stake in the copyright interest of 814 songs – including a 50% stake of both the writer’s share and publisher’s share of the catalog.
Spirit Music Group acquires Kara DioGuardi back catalogue (Music Week)
Global independent music publisher Spirit Music Group has acquired the back publishing catalogue of Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi. The deal will include hits such Pink’s Sober, Kelly Clarkson’s Heartbeat Song, and Carrie Underwood’s Undo It.
Harry Fox rival Music Reports acquired by private equity firm MidOcean Partners (MBW)
New York-based MidOcean has acquired the firm for an undisclosed fee from its previous owners, ABRY Partners plus Music Reports’ co-founders, Ronald Gertz and Douglas Brainin.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville Signs Bernie Herms (Music Row)
Originally from Canada and currently residing in Nashville, Herms is known for his songwriting and production work with artists such as Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, David Foster, Idina Menzel, Kelly Clarkson, Andrea Bocelli, Selena Gomez, and many more.
Sea Girls sign to Sony/ATV as debut album makes chart impact (Music Week)
The Polydor-signed act, made up of Henry Camamile, Rory Young, Andrew Dawson and Oli Khan, have just released their debut album Open Up Your Head. It opened at No.3 with sales of 8,726, according to the Official Charts Company.
Brian White Extends Publishing Deal With Anthem Music Publishing (Music Row)
Brian White has extended his worldwide co-publishing deal with Anthem Music Publishing. Since joining the Anthem family in 2018, White has become a highly sought-after producer and songwriter in Nashville.
Facts & Figures
U.S. Music Revenue Reached $11 Billion in 2019, But It’s Still Not at Its Peak (Rolling Stone)
The Digital Music Association, which represents the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, predicts a new historic high point for U.S. music revenue in 2025
Hirings & Promotions
Songtrust names Darren Briggs as global head of technology (Music Week)
Songtrust has hired Darren Briggs in a newly created role as global head of technology. Reporting to Songtrust president Molly Neuman, Briggs will oversee the ongoing expansion of its technology infrastructure.
Finance & Investment
Business as Unusual: Catalog Acquisitions Weather the Pandemic (Synchblog)
The catalog acquisition boom is showing no signs of waning, even during a pandemic. Eamonn Forde examines the major driving forces behind the catalog gold rush and looks at what the future holds for this space.
Thinking of Selling Your Catalog? How to Plan the Smart Way: Video (Billboard)
Watch a panel moderated by Billboard editorial director Hannah Karp and hosted by A/B Bernstein offering guidance to creatives considering the move.
Will Round Hill be the next music company to IPO on the stock exchange? (MBW)
Senior and well-connected industry sources are telling MBW that New York-based Round Hill Music is in the early stages of exploring a public flotation.
The City View: Beyoncé’s former manager on why classic hits are a hot asset class (City A.M.)
In this episode Christian talks to music industry veteran Merck Mercuriadis, a former manager of acts including Elton John and Beyoncé whose FTSE-listed investment firm has just hit a £1bn market cap.
Songtradr raises $30m in Series C round to fund global expansion (MBW)
Los-Angeles based B2B music rights and licensing marketplace Songtradr has raised $30 million in a series C funding round, valuing the company at $165m.
Why companies are buying up the rights to thousands of songs (Global News)
A lucky few are making more money than they ever thought possible, thanks to a burgeoning gold rush where a couple of forward-looking companies are gobbling up massive amounts of intellectual property.
Royalties & CMOs
Radio’s Crushing Quarter Is About to Trickle Down to Publishers and Songwriters (Billboard)
Rights holders can expect lower performance royalties because radio revenues are down big in 2020 and possibly into 2021.
SESAC inks licensing deal with Radio Music License Committee (MBW)
The new agreement sets the rates payable by the majority of America’s commercial terrestrial radio stations to publicly perform works in the SESAC repertory, effective January 1 2019 through December 31, 2022.
Good Splits is a streaming royalty calculator for musicians (Music Ally)
A new site called Good Splits is promising to help musicians “quickly and easily calculate royalties from aggregator services”.