Universal Music Publishing Group has become the exclusive administrator of the Jimi Hendrix catalog throughout the world outside the United States.
The five-year agreement covers all commercial opportunities, including synchronization licensing for motion pictures, TV, advertising and other media.
Universal Music Publishing replaces Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which had administered the Hendrix catalog outside the United States since 1998. The U.S. publishing rights will continue to be handled by Experience Hendrix, the Seattle company formed in 1995 by the guitarist's late father, James "Al" Hendrix, and now headed by Jimi Hendrix's sister Janie Hendrix, who is president/CEO.
Experience Hendrix expects to release two albums later this year, including one on its Dagger "bootleg" imprint, which is sold only through its Web site. Hendrix also expects to release CDs and DVDs this fall that showcase live performances by the Jimi Hendrix Experience at London's Royal Albert Hall, as well as behind-the-scenes footage.
When Hendrix performed February 18 and February 24, 1969, at Royal Albert Hall, a camera crew followed him for a month, yielding candid footage of him at home, about town and hanging out backstage. The result, Hendrix says, will be a "reality TV" glimpse of the legendary guitarist.
"Janie has done an amazing job of keeping the music and Hendrix's legacy alive," said Universal Music Publishing chairman/CEO David Renzer. "They have a great reissue program in place and they are doing a great job of protecting his legacy."
"Overall, it was a wonderful deal they offered us," Hendrix said. "Everything has to come through me for approval." She added that she will ensure that any new opportunities "uphold the standard of the music."
The Hendrix catalog -- which includes such songs as "Purple Haze," "Crosstown Traffic" and "Voodoo Child" -- remains a perennial strong seller. In the United States, the catalog sells about a half-million copies annually, putting worldwide sales at 1.2 million, Billboard estimates. Song downloads of the artist's music grew from 800,000 in the United States in 2007 to 915,000 last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Artists gravitate to his songs," Renzer said. "He has been covered by everyone from Eric Clapton to John Mayer."
Meanwhile, the artist's recording catalog appears poised to continue expanding, with Hendrix noting that Experience Hendrix has "10 more years of Hendrix music" in the vaults.
"Currently, I am in the studio transferring tapes of Band of Gypsys performances that have never been released before," she said, referring to Hendrix's last band.
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