We catch up on this week’s music publishing news, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals & Acquisitions
Triller Finally Forges Licensing Agreement With Music Publishers (Variety)
Triller, the short-form video app, has struck a licensing agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association, which represents most American music publishers.
Carole Bayer Sager songbook is sweet music for Hipgnosis (The Times)
Hipgnosis has bought the back catalogue of the songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, who wrote 1970s hits such as “Nobody Does It Better” and “When I Need You”.
Primary Wave buys majority stake in publishing catalog of Mark Morrison (MBW)
Included in what Primary Wave describes as a “multi-million dollar deal” are a number of Morrison’s biggest hits such as Crazy, Trippin’ and Return of the Mack.
Reach Music buys 50% interest in song catalog of Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton (MBW)
The acquisition covers Tipton’s songwriting catalog of almost 200 songs as a member of Judas Priest, including works dating back to 1979.
Hasbro Floats Sale of eOne Music Assets, Including Lumineers’ Label & Death Row Records (Billboard)
Hasbro, the toy company that bought Entertainment One in 2019, has put eOne’s music operation on the block and is seeking a $600 million payday, according to sources.
Sony Music Publishing South Africa signs global deal with Gallo Music (Music Week)
Sony Music Publishing will provide its services to Gallo Music Publishers’ extensive catalogue of songs and create new opportunities for its compositions on an international scale.
Concord Music Publishing signs Julian Casablancas of The Strokes (MBW)
Concord Music Publishing has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, musician and producer Julian Casablancas.
Warner Chappell Music signs publishing deal with multi-platinum producer d.a. got that dope (MBW)
Warner Chappell Music has entered into a worldwide publishing agreement with d.a. got that dope, an award-winning record producer, songwriter and music executive.
Launches & New Ventures
Spotify Has Paid Over $23B to Rights Holders, Launches Website on Artist Payouts (Billboard)
Last year 7,800 artists generated recording and publishing royalties totaling over $100,000, according to the Loud & Clear website.
African distribution company Freeme Digital launches new services platform for indie rightsholders (MBW)
Nigeria-based music distribution company Freeme Digital is launching a new platform called Freeme+ to provide A&R, marketing, sync licensing and publishing services for independent African rightsholders.
This Fiction Music and Spark Music Group launch Campfire Songs publishing JV (MBW)
This Fiction Music (X Ambassadors, JP Saxe, Jukebox the Ghost) and Spark Music Group (Dan Romer, Teddy Geiger, Andrew Maury) have launched a new joint publishing venture called Campfire Songs.
Facts & Figures
IFPI Global Report 2021: Music Revenues Rise For Sixth Straight Year to $21.6 Billion (Billboard)
Total revenues climbed to $21.6 billion, a rise of 7.4% on the previous year. Driving the growth was a 19.9% rise in streaming revenues, which totaled $9.9 billion last year.
The Global Value of Music Copyright reached a record high of $31.6bn in 2019 (Tarzan Economics)
The architect of the new findings – Spotify’s former Chief of Economics, Will Page – says that the $31.6bn number shows that “copyright has never been worth so much”.
Finance & Investment
Can a Music Catalog Fetch $500 Million? BMG and KKR Think So (Rolling Stone)
BMG and investment firm KKR are partnering to acquire major music catalogs. Says an exec: “We’re not chasing hits from January 2021. We’re looking at repertoire that’s proved itself about being part of our lives”
Hipgnosis reveals how it values songs (and that its catalog is worth slightly more than it originally forecast) (MBW)
Today (March 16), Hipgnosis has made significant upgrades to its investor disclosure going forward, including two moves clearly designed to allay any chatter over the way it reports accrued income.
Reservoir Media In Talks to Go Public Via Roth II SPAC (Bloomberg)
Music publisher Reservoir Media Management is in talks to go public through a merger with Roth Ch Acquisition II Co., a blank-check firm, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
So You Want to Sell Your Publishing Rights? A Veteran of the Business Says Take a Beat (Billboard)
Over more than 40 years I’ve never had anyone say to me, “I sure am glad I sold my publishing when I did. It was the best thing I ever did.”
How New SPAC Music Acquisition Corp. Will Spend Its $230M IPO Money (Billboard)
Co-founder Neil Jacobson says MAC’s target “may not be a fundamental music company but music is in the next iteration of their growth strategy.”
Royalties & CMOs
The Giant Pool Of Unmatched Music Royalties (NPR)
How did the big music streaming platforms end up owing $424 million dollars to the songwriters and music publishers they depend on? And what does that tell us about the state of the music business?
Will SoundCloud’s Fan-Centric Royalties Spark Wider Change? (Rolling Stone)
“You want to get paid for the fact that they’re spinning your record — not the fact that someone thinks they’re spinning someone else’s record,” says Hipgnosis CEO Merck Mercuriadis.
Copyright Office undertakes public study to identify best practices for unclaimed royalties of musical works (Hypebot)
In an effort to identify and locate those copyright owners with unclaimed royalties still floating out there in the ether, the US copyright office is holding public consultation to identify the best practice for making this happen.
RIAA, NMPA, More Music Groups Slam Twitter’s ‘Rampant Theft of Creative Works’ in Letter to Congress (Variety)
US music organizations including NSAI, NMPA, Recording Academy, RIAA and others have issued a joint letter to Congress hammering Twitter for its “failure to meet the most basic standards of responsible moderation with respect to other illegal activity.”
Record Labels Under Fire To Update Contracts With Songwriters Or Lose Them (Forbes)
Like disruption across so many industries, the past year has illuminated glaring issues in the old-school methods by which songwriters are both compensated and bound to their publishing contracts.
SoundExchange Unveils Upgraded Data Exchange System For Labels And Publishers (Music Row)
Called the Common Works Registration Pre-Fill, the new feature improves the compatibility of data that flows through SoundExchange’s Music Data Exchange application.
Hirings & Promotions
Concord Promotes Bob Valentine to President, Kent Hoskins to CFO (Billboard)
Concord has continued to shuffle its executive ranks, announcing Tuesday (March 23) that chief financial officer Bob Valentine has been promoted to president of the company, while publishing CFO Kent Hoskins has been promoted to replace Valentine as CFO.
Anthony Martini Appointed Royalty Exchange CEO: Exclusive (Billboard)
Anthony “Ant” Martini has been appointed CEO of Royalty Exchange, effective immediately. Matthew Smith, founding CEO of the online platform, stays on as chairman.
Joe Conyers III exits role as Chief Strategy Officer at Downtown to lead new NFT Platform from Crypto.com (MBW)
In this new role, Conyers will oversee the development of Crypto.com’s new invite-only NFT platform, which a press release claims “will feature the world’s top artists, athletes and sports leagues”.
Streaming Writes: Music Publishers and DSP Marketing (Synchblog)
Music publishing executives discuss how their marketing and playlist strategies are shifting and where the potential lies in the relationship between publishers and DSPs.
Is Universal Music Worth $29 Billion? $49 Billion? Even $100 Billion? (Rolling Stone)
Analysts suggest that the world’s biggest music rights-holder could be worth three times its current public valuation.
BE THE CHANGE: Women Making Music 2021 (MIDIA Research)
MIDIA Research and TuneCore/Believe today release a new study on women creators, revealing the challenges, experiences, inspirations and their ambitions in today’s music industry.
The Song Manager: Hipgnosis’ Nick Jarjour Sees a Financially Fruitful Future for Hit Rights Holders (Variety)
“Think about Michael Jackson’s stake in music publishing,” says Nick Jarjour, global head of song management for Hipgnosis. “How much would his half of Sony/ATV have been worth if we were using today’s valuations?”
Nice Work If You Can Earn It: Raleigh Music Group’s 5th Anniversary (Billboard)
Raleigh Music Group co-founders Peter Raleigh and Steven Storch mark the publisher’s fifth anniversary by discussing their old-school approach to servicing their blue-chip song catalogs and up-and-coming indie talent.
The NFT Craze Offers Easy Money—And Hard Copyright Questions (Decrypt)
If there was a contest for acronym of the year, “NFT” would be the clear favorite for 2021. Short for non-fungible tokens, NFTs are having a moment as fans scramble to “own” pieces of digital art or pop culture moments.
Marc Geiger: ‘We’re going into a post-Spotify earning era’ (Music Ally)
Yesterday was the first day of SXSW 2021’s online conference, including a chat between former WME music chief Marc Geiger and Pandora founder Tim Westergren – now working on their new ventures, venue network Savelive and livestreaming firm Sessions.
Industry Groups Call on Recording Academy to Eliminate ‘Archaic’ Music-Publishing Provision (Variety)
Industry groups have called on the Recording Academy’s new Songwriter and Composer Wing to eliminate an “archaic” music-publishing provision.
Grammy-Winning Beyonce Collaborator Among Songwriters Fleeing Traditional Publishing Deals (Forbes)
Kanye West busted open the conversation in 2019 when he sued Sony Music Publishing-owned EMI Music Publishing, along with Universal Music Group labels Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam seeking to exit the contract he’d signed with EMI in 2004.
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