We catch up on this week’s music publishing news, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals & Acquisitions
Primary Wave buys legendary Sun Records in $30m deal, including masters for Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis (MBW)
The buyout also includes all of the music publishing owned by Sun, as well as the iconic Sun Records logo and all other trademarks owned by Sun, including that of Nashville’s Sun Diner.
Sony/ATV signs new deal with songwriter Mark James, acquires rights for three of his songs (MBW)
The company has secured extended rights for three of his top songs – Suspicious Minds, “Hooked on a Feeling,” and Grammy-award winning Always on my Mind.
Spirit Music Group Strikes Multi-Faceted Deal With Grammy Winner Joy Williams (Music Row)
The deal includes the acquisition of compositions from her various song catalogs, including her Grammy-winning work as part of the duo The Civil Wars, as well as several masters that she controls. In addition, Spirit will administer Williams’ most recent solo album Front Porch, as well as her compositions going forward.
Wise Music Group acquires The Zombies classic songs in catalogue deal (Music Week)
Wise Music has acquired The Zombies’ songs as part of the purchase of the Marquis, Verulam and Mistletoe Melodies publishing companies from The Bocu Group.
Bosworth Music signs Polish pianist and composer Hania Rani (Music Week)
Hania Rani has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Bosworth Music, part of Wise Music Group.Rights include the complete back catalogue including the albums Home and Esja, as well as all upcoming works.
Jesse & Joy Inks Worldwide Deal With Warner Chappell Music Mexico (Billboard)
Jesse & Joy have signed an exclusive worldwide deal for catalog rights with Warner Chappell Music Mexico, Billboard can exclusively reveal today (Jan. 25).
Tunedly Inks Global Administration Deal With Spirit Music Group (Music Row)
Tunedly, a global innovative online music production and publishing source, has announced a new partnership with Spirit Music Group, one of the world’s leading independent music publishers. Through the deal, Spirit Music Group will administer Tunedly’s growing music catalog worldwide.
Launches & New Ventures
Tempo Music CEO Sherrese Clarke Soares Leaves $1B Acquisition Fund to Start New Venture (Billboard)
Sherrese Clarke Soares, who has been leading acquisition fund Tempo Music’s excursion into buying music assets, has left the firm with the intention of starting her own venture.
F1 owner Liberty Media targets music acquisitions after raising $575m (Music Week)
LMAC said it intends to target acquisition in the media, digital media, music, entertainment, communications, telecommunications and technology industries.
Facts & Figures
COVID-19 Knocks 76 Percent Off Europe’s Music Revenue (Billboard)
Representatives of Europe’s creative industries — from film and TV to theater, music, and video games — are calling for more government help to rebound from the economic damage wrought by COVID-19.
Finance & Investment
What to Know About Music’s Copyright Gold Rush (Pitchfork)
Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham, Shakira, and others recently sold their song catalogs to the flashy music publishing upstart Hipgnosis, in deals that have implications for the future of the recording industry.
Hirings & Promotions
Matt Phipps-Taylor joins peermusic as Chief Information Officer (MBW)
He will oversee the technology and data platforms used across peermusic’s global network of music publishing and neighbouring rights companies operating from 38 offices in 31 countries, with over a million titles under the company’s aegis, and a neighbouring rights roster encompassing over 300 record labels and more than 2,500 performers.
Warner Chappell hires WMG veteran who defended Led Zeppelin in copyright case (Music Week)
Warner Chappell Music has named David Woirhaye as the company’s new EVP and global CFO, effectively immediately. In his new role, he will report into Guy Moot, co-chair and CEO and Carianne Marshall, co-chair and COO.
Royalties & CMOs
PRS for Music’s livestreaming licence sparks another row (Music Ally)
Yesterday, PRS launched its new ‘Online Live Concert‘ licence for small events – those earning less than £500 in revenue – with fixed licence fees to cover rights. It’ll cost £22.50 + VAT for an event earning less than £250, and £45 for those earning between £251 and £500.
Can This Music Rights Search Tool Solve a Big Industry Problem? (Billboard)
Rightsholder.io wants to make finding music copyright data easier for licensing professionals and others. ‘s founders have a fresh approach on solving an age-old problem in music licensing: how to find important data, quickly.
BMG, Beggars Group and Hipgnosis each have strong opinions on streaming (MBW)
Three of the world’s biggest music companies outside of the major labels – BMG, Beggars Group, and Hipgnosis Songs Fund – each call for fairly dramatic changes to the streaming landscape in their submissions.
Nigerian musicians await resolution in battle of the PROs (Music Ally)
The long battle between Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) as to who is legally responsible to act as a Collective Management Organisation/ Collective Society (CMO) or simply put, collect royalties on behalf of artists rages on.
5 Reasons Why You Should Undertake a Royalty Audit (Synchblog)
HW Fisher’s Head of Music Royalty Audits Robert Fowler on the complexities of royalty accounting and why a royalty audit could unlock additional revenue.
Dissecting The Streaming Inquiry #03: The recording / song split (CMU)
Many songwriters and music publishers argue that they are yet to really see the benefit of streaming and that’s principally because of the way the digital pie is sliced, so that nearly four times more money is allocated to the recording than the song.
Indie-Fatigable: The Current State of Independent Music Publishing Globally (Synchblog)
Key takeaways from a recent report which assembles, for the first time, the global market revenue and percentage share of the independent music publishing sector.
Songs are the golden eggs in music catalogues, but who is looking after the goose? (MIDiA Research)
Marketing is absolutely at the core of future success for song catalogues, even if lucky random breaks will continue to happen thanks to social media phenomena. But to shift the needle culturally on a catalogue requires a big, sustained and coordinated effort. And that is where it gets tough.
The Three Biggest Myths Deluding the Modern Music Business (Rolling Stone)
Here are three of the biggest misconceptions right now, plus the information you require to burst their bubbles next time someone mentions them in earshot.
Round Hill boss sceptical about major music firms’ priorities (Music Ally)
Josh Gruss, CEO of Round Hill Music, was the keynote interviewee for NY:LON Connect’s publishing strand yesterday. He offered some views on the disparity in digital royalties between recordings and songs.
Buying Beats for Viral Songs Is Becoming a Popular (and Messy) Business (Rolling Stone)
Execs are scooping up the beats behind hits — sometimes without singers’ knowledge. Some see the practice as shrewd business, but others say the murky ethics can turn a breakthrough into “a nightmare”.
Spotify’s latest invention monitors your speech, determines your emotional state… and suggests music based on it (MBW)
According to the filing, SPOT’s new patent covers a “method for processing a provided audio signal that includes speech content and background noise” and then “identifying playable content, based on the processed audio signal content.”
How to Diversify Music Companies’ Corporate Boards & Why It Matters (Billboard)
The lack of diversity on music industry boards is “really heartbreaking in an industry that’s built on the backs of Black music and Black artists.”
Six Takeaways for Publishers from the DCMS Inquiry into the Economics of Music Streaming (Synchblog)
The DCMS held the latest in a series of inquiries into the economics of streaming music on 19th January. Here are the most significant arguments and quotes with a publishing-centric focus.
Music Publishing Job Spotlight
Growth Manager (Production Music) – BMG (London)
You will be responsible for contributing to audience and business growth at BMG Production Music with respect to global marketing activities.
Catalogue Manager – Broma16 (UK/RU/NL)
In this role as a catalogue manager you will be working with a large portfolio of Broma16 customers and act as liaison between front and back end operations.
Licensing Manager – Calm Music (Remote)
This role will be critical in scaling Calm’s music operations and will be focused on expanding Calm’s library by managing licensing deals and facilitating label/publishing conversations.
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