We catch up on this week’s music publishing news, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals & Acquisitions
Paul Simon Sells His Song Catalog To Sony Music Publishing (Forbes)
The milestone deal includes Simon’s songs spanning more than six decades, from his time as a member of Simon and Garfunkel through his career as a solo artist.
Scooter Braun sells Ithaca Holdings to HYBE, home to BTS (MBW)
HYBE subsidiary HYBE America has acquired a 100% stake in Ithaca, which to date has been backed with capital from investment giant the Carlyle Group. As a result, Carlyle exits its position in the acquired company.
Round Hill Music acquires publishing catalog of Country songwriter and producer Zach Crowell (MBW)
The deal includes the acquisition and administration of his music publishing back catalog, neighbouring rights (via Sound Hill, Round Hill Music’s recently launched neighbouring rights division) and producer royalties
Launches & New Ventures
Influence Media Partners launches $100m fund to invest in catalogs of female music creators (MBW)
New York-based music and entertainment investment firm Influence Media Partners has launched a new fund to invest in what it describes as “award-winning catalogs of some of music’s most influential female music creators”.
Facts & Figures
BMG’s annual revenues rose 1.9% to top $680m in 2020 (MBW)
According to new figures released by the music company’s German parent, Bertelsmann, BMG revenues hit €602 million (approx USD $680 million) across the course of last year.
Finance & Investment
Universal Music Group is raising $3.5 billion in financing. Will a spending spree follow? (MBW)
Did Universal exhaust its music acquisition war-chest with its mammoth 2020 catalog splurge? Don’t bet on it.
Edgar Bronfman Jr. launches SPAC with $300m to spend. Could he return to the music business? (MBW)
Bronfman Jr. is launching a blank check company called Waverley Capital Acquisition Corp., which plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WAVCU.
How Bernstein Leverages Data to Help Songwriters With ‘Buy or Sell’ Decision (Billboard)
Record amounts of money flowing into music publishing has an increasing number of songwriters asking the same question: to sell or not to sell?
Billboard Pro Spotlight Live Virtual Event: Music and Money (Billboard)
On March 25, Billboard’s Music & Money event returns as the next installment of the Billboard Pro Spotlight series. The livestream will air at 12 p.m. EST with panel videos living here afterwards.
Valuation Nation: Hipgnosis and the Business of Song Management (Musonomics)
If it seems like a remarkable number of larger-than-life legacy artists have sold the rights to their catalogs lately for astonishing price tags, it’s very likely the work of Merck Mercuriadis, CEO of Hipgnosis Songs Fund.
Royalties & CMOs
Songwriters Are Tired of Having Their Money Taken — By Artists (Rolling Stone)
Top pop writers are asking their peers to support the Pact, an open letter calling for fairer treatment in an industry that often takes them for granted.
T-Series finally joins Indian collecting society IPRS (Music Ally)
India’s collecting society IPRS now has a full set of major music companies from the country, after T-Series joined the likes of Saregama and Times Music (plus the local subsidiaries of Sony and UMG) as a member.
Socan makes its livestreams licensing system permanent (Music Ally)
Encore was designed as a temporary fix, but now it’s expanding into a permanent licensing scheme, now also including concerts on YouTube and Twitch.
Campaign launched to stop TV, film and advertisers buying out composer’s royalties (Music Week)
Composers Against Buyouts is backed by the likes of David Arnold and Hannah Peel, and highlights the fact that writers are increasingly being asked to sell their work for an upfront fee for TV, film and advertising use meaning they lose out on royalties over time.
Having sold music rights to 125 people via NFTs, this blockchain platform is evolving again (MBW)
The Bluebox platform enables a full back-end accounting and royalty tracking system on the blockchain, allowing royalties to be split, recorded and managed by multiple users at once.
Dr. Luke’s Publishing Co. Prescription Songs to Start Paying Royalties in Bitcoin (Billboard)
Prescription Songs, the independent music publisher founded by Dr. Luke, announced Thursday (April 1) that it will allow its roster of songwriters and producers the option of receiving royalty payments in Bitcoin, making it the first established music company to do so.
Hirings & Promotions
Katy Wolaver promoted to Senior Vice President, A&R and Wallace Joseph to VP, A&R at Warner Chappell Music (MBW)
In their new roles, they will continue to report to Ryan Press, President of A&R, US and work closely with him to grow the company’s roster of songwriters and producers.
The Music Industry in MENA: PopArabia’s Spek on the Region’s Vast Potential (Synchblog)
PopArabia’s Founder and President Spek discusses recent developments in the MENA music industry and opportunities for rights holders.
NFTs: What songwriters and music publishers need to know (MBW)
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) continue to make headlines, but many haven’t quite wrapped their heads around what they mean for different elements of the music industry.
Kris Ahrend Built and Launched MLC During a Pandemic — Now the Hard Part Begins (Billboard)
“We’ll have the statement module for royalties ready to launch… in time for the first distribution,” Ahrend says, adding that the claiming portal will follow soon after.
Creator tools platforms could become social networks (MIDiA)
Right now, most creator tools solutions are not very social at all, but that will change and those that harness the change early will have an advantage.
Brit Beat: Parliament’s Streaming Hearings Bring Deadlock, Harry Potter References; Alan McGee’s 24 Hour Party Rages On (Variety)
Anyone searching for a gripping new TV show to watch during lockdown could do a lot worse than stream the evidence sessions from the U.K. Parliament’s investigation into the economics of music streaming.
The Pact Speaks Out: Why Asks For Songwriters to Give Up Publishing Shares Have Gotten ‘Particularly Aggressive’ (Billboard)
“The Pact is about songwriters honoring the value of their copyrights, about making sure songwriters protect their assets,” says Golan, who hosts the podcast And the Writer Is… and is involved in a variety of songwriter advocacy efforts.
How Creator Services Can Advance Gender Equity in Music: Guest Post by Songtrust’s Molly Neuman (Variety)
The imbalance right now has real economic impact, and we have not yet seen concrete research on what that has meant in terms of lost dollar value to women creators.
Executive of the Week: Sony Music Publishing Latin America & US Latin President/CEO Jorge Mejia (Billboard)
Here, Mejía talks about Sony Music Publishing’s long run at the top, the company’s mix of signing established superstar writers as well as developing young talent, and the “personal connection” that helps fuel his approach to signings.
Mr Brightside: The hit that just won’t die (BBC)
According to the Official Chart Company, Mr Brightside is streamed 1.2 million times a week on average, and has sold 3.52 million copies since it was first released in 2003.
Synchtank Report – Drowning in Data: Royalty Accounting and Systems in the Digital Age (Free Download)
Synchtank’s comprehensive new report examines the challenges music publishers are facing with regards to rights, royalties and payments in the digital age. Get your free copy now.
Music Publishing Jobs
Senior Director, Music Publishing Rights Management – SoundExchange (US)
This role is responsible for the successful management of the Music Publishing rights management services, functions, processes provided to all internal and external music publisher customers.
Financial Data Analyst – Reservoir (New York)
Join the Finance team in Reservoir’s NYC or Nashville office with two primary objectives. First, to accurately value music assets, and second, to conduct analysis on internal and external royalty data.
Assistant Manager, Copyright – Kobalt Music Group (Nashville)
Kobalt Music’s Publishing department is looking for a personable and professional Assistant Manager to join the team that manages the copyright administration for the US societies.
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