Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has signed an exclusive, worldwide agreement with Elvis Costello.

The long-term deal means UMPG will administer his entire back catalog of 27 albums as well as his future recordings. Universal inherited Costello's catalog two years ago when parent company Vivendi bought BMG Music Publishing for €1.63 billion ($2.05 billion at September 2006 exchange rates).

Costello, who counts "Oliver's Army", "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" and "A Good Year For the Roses" among his hits, emerged in 1977 with "My Aim Is True" as Elvis Costello & the Attractions on the punk label, Stiff Records.

He has since embraced country, classical and jazz and Costello's influence on fellow artists has led to his songs being covered by Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Johnny Cash and Dusty Springfield.

Paul Connolly, president of Europe and U.K., Universal Music Publishing Group said in a statement: "Elvis Costello is one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced and it is quite simply an honor to be working with him. The range and quality of his output over the last 30 years is truly astonishing and I am thrilled that we will be representing both his classic material and his new work."

Costello has also earned himself a number of accolades through the years, including an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Attractions, Ivor Novello awards and the ASCAP Founder's Award in 2003. He also won a Grammy for "I Still Have That Other Girl" from his 1998 collaboration with Burt Bacharach, "Painted From Memory".

This month, Costello plays chief of police in the Parisian stage production "Welcome To The Voice" and in December he will host his own U.S. TV show, "Spectacle," on which he will talk to and perform with other artists. It is due to air on the Sundance Channel.

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