Publishing Briefs: Sony/ATV Signs Jack Antonoff; Warner/Chappell Appoints New Promotions VP

Daniel Silbert
Jack Antonoff of Bleachers

Billboard's Ed Christman wraps-up all the big stories happening in the music publishing world.

- Warner/Chappell Music has appointed former Philadelphia International Records executive Chuck Gamble as vp of catalog promotions.

Gamble has worked closely with Warner/Chappell for more than two decades, overseeing the Philadelphia International songwriters published by Warner Chappell, including Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

"Our legacy songwriters have created some of Warner/Chappell’s most treasured works, and it is central to our mission that this timeless music receives the highest level of service," "We’ve had a long relationship with Chuck through his role overseeing the music of Gamble & Huff, and he’s demonstrated a unique talent for giving songs a long life, well beyond their initial release," said Jon Platt, CEO of Warner/Chappell, in a statement.

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At Philadelphia International, Gamble held the position of executive vp and oversaw all areas of that organization, including master recordings, licensing, global distribution, strategy relations and royalty operations.

"Music is in my blood and I have had the very fortunate opportunity to work for, and learn from, two of the most prolific song writers in the world: Messrs. Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff," said Gamble in a statement.

In other company news, Warner/Chappell Music signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Dave Cobb, the Nashville-based producer who has produced albums for Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson, Wayon Jennings and worked on Chris Stapelton's "Traveller," among other albums.

As part of the deal, Warner/Chappell and Cobb have jointly established Low Country Sound Publishing, the sister company to the Low Country Sound record label imprint the producer created with Elektra Records.

-- Sony/ATV have signed a worldwide deal with singer/songwriter and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff that covers his work with artists like Sara Bareilles, Christina Perri, Tegan & Sara and Taylor Swift. As part of the deal, Sony/ATV and Antonoff will launch a joint venture called Rough Customer, which will focus primarily on growing his team of collaborators.

Antonoff, who is also a songwriter and guitar player in Fun, co-wrote and produced three songs on Swift's 1989, including "Out Of The Woods."

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In statements, Sony/ATV co-president Rick Krim said Antonoff is a triple threat as a writer, producer and songwriter, who has a "gift for finding and nurturing new artists"; while Antonoff manager Tyler Childs added "the creation of Rough Customer is the next logical step in Jack's creative journey…[It] will deliver the service of a start-up with the muscle of the biggest publisher in the world."

In another move, Sony/ATV has beefed up its U.K.-based neighboring rights division by signing The Weeknd, Slash, the late Amy Winehouse and film composer Hans Zimmer. The division, run by former PPL executive George Powell, has also added producer Roy Thomas Baker, songwriter/producer Jake Gosling and DJs, producers and artists Philip George, Adam Beyer and Andy C.

"These are fantastic additions to an incredible roster of clients that we have built up in a very short space of time," Sony/ATV managing director and president of European creative Guy Moot said in a statement.

-- Downtown Music Publishing have signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Sacha Skarbek, a co-writer on Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball," who also wrote the score for the film No Good Reason. Skarbek is currently writing with Jessie Ware and Tears for Fears, according to the announcement. In another deal, Downtown have signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Jason Isbell, the Drive-By Trucker member who began his solo career in 2007. 

"We are thrilled to be working with Jason and his incredible song catalog," Downtown COO Andrew Bergman said in a statement. "With each new album, Jason's music continues to reach ever-wider audiences, crossing over to numerous genres."

-- Downtown Music has signed a multi-year licensing deal with Pandora. "This agreement with Pandora is a milestone in our on-going mission to deliver equitable, accurate and timely payments for our songwriters," Downtown founder and CEO, Justin Kalifowitz said in a statement. "It also serves as a reminder that songwriter royalties are best negotiated in a free market."

-- Universal Music Publishing Group has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Post Malone in deal that includes his hit single "White Iverson." 

"Post Malone is so imaginative and an original, UMPG chairman and CEO Jody Gerson said in a statement. "‘White Iverson’ is just the tip of the iceberg of what he’s capable of, and this is just the very beginning of what I expect to be a successful career for him as a songwriter and an artist."

-- Spirit Music has entered into an exclusive North-American publishing deal with the estate of Doc Pomus, the legendary songwriter whose catalog includes Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas;" Dion & the Belmonts' "A Teenager In Love;" and the Coasters' Youngblood."

"Though he worked in the company of the Brill Building-era’s finest tunesmiths, Doc Pomus’ songs stand out as some of the most evocative and powerful soul, blues and pop songs ever written," Spirit president/CEO Mark Fried said in a statement.

"After successfully managing the Doc Pomus catalog on my own for nearly twenty-five years, I felt it was time for a change," said Pomus Songs president Will Bratton.

-- Big Deal Music, founded in September 2012, and BMG have extended their relationship for an additional three years. BMG will provide global administration and proactive exploitation services for the Big Deal catalog in Germany, UK, Scandinavia, France, Benelux, Spain and Italy.

The deal still provides a framework for the two companies to sign talent jointly, with previous signees including such songwriters as John Ryan and Brett Beavers.

"We look forward to continuing our very successful and fulfilling relationship with BMG," Big Deal’s Kenny MacPherson said in a statement, labeling the arrangement a great partnership.

"BMG has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Kenny and the all-star team at Big Deal for the last few years," BMG president of creative and marketing Laurent Hubert said in a statement."

-- Round Hill Music has entered into a series of deals with songwriters and artists including Jimmy Robbins, Rune Westberg, and Tamaryn.

As well, the company signed a series of co-publishing deals; Rune Westberg was also signed to a worldwide co-publishing deal; Round Hill joint venture parter Mexican Summer Music signed a worldwide co-publishing agreement with Tamaryn, who has released the three albums for the label;Baby Needs New Shoes LLC and Round Hill Music Nashville also signed songwriter/producerJimmy Robbins to a co-publishing agreement, as well as acquiring a portion of his existing song catalog from Baby Needs New Shoes; Marc "Schmarx" Schnieder and Savannah Savvy were signed to co-publishing songwriter deals.

-- peermusic has entered into a strategic partnership with Trackdown Digital, the Australian music and post-production facility, which will oversee synch activities and new business opportunities for the Berkeley, Calif.-based firm in the Australia and New Zealand Territories.

As part of the move, Trackdown Digital executives Geoff Watson was appointed vp of A&R and new projects, while Gary Seeger has been appointed creative director of peermusic Australia.

"Given the ever-evolving business of music, I am delighted to be working with the entrepreneurial and forward-thinking spirit of Geoff and Gary and their incredible team at Trackdown," peermusic Anglo/American president and Chief Operating Officer region Kathy Spanberger said in a statement.

-- Hearts Bluff Music has acquired the rights to the Muy Bueno catalog, owned by George Straitand his manager Erv Woolsey, and includes the songs of writers Aaron Barker, Dana Hunt-Black, Gerald Smith, Donny Kees, and Tony Ramey. The catalog includes such songs as George Stait's "Baby Blue," "I Can Still Make Cheyenne," "Easy Come, Easy Go," "Baby's Gotten Good At Goodbye," "One Night At A Time," and "Write This Down;"  and Lorrie Morgan's "What Part of No;" Lonestar's "What About Now;" and Gary Allan's "It Would Be You."

-- ole, the Canadian rights management firm, has extended and expanded its worldwide administration deal with Sinking Ship Entertainment, the production and new media company responsible for the children TV shows, "Dino Dan," "Odd Squad," and "Annedroids."

In addition to continue to handle music publishing administration and audio/visual secondary rights, ole will now provide Sinking Ship with access to its Jingle Punks' existing library of production music and custom composition services.

"Sinking Ship is building an amazing global success story, and ole is pleased to continue to ensure that their worldwide collections are complete," ole chairman and CEO Robert Ott said in a statement.

In addition, ole will now handle administration of Sinking Ship's audio masters, including sync representation, neighboring rights and SoundExchange royalties.

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