'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross Signs New Publishing Deal

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Atticus Ross attend the cinema prive And PANDORA Jewelry host a special screening of "Gone Girl" on Dec. 14, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. 

Atticus RossTrent Reznor's collaborator on such films as Gone Girl and The Social Network (for which they won an Oscar in 2011), has signed with Downtown Music Publishing, joining a roster that includes Hans Zimmer, Randy Newman, Adam Peters (Echo & The Bunnymen) and Trevor Horn.

Ross is also scoring the documentary Crocodile Gennadiy and John Hillcoat's Triple 9.  And his score for the biographical Brian Wilson film Love & Mercy includes  ambitious mash-ups of Beach Boys tracks and electronics. It opens in June.

"Atticus is one of those uber-talented people who can compose, write songs and produce," says Amy Driscoll-Dunning, Downtown's senior vp, Creative. "He has a vision and every time he does something, it's [musical ideas] we haven't heard before."

Ross, who left Universal to join Downtown, joins a lineup that includes the composer-songwriters Hans Zimmer, Randy Newman, Adam Peters (Echo & the Bunnymen), Trevor Horn, Trevor Rabin (Yes), Heitor Pereira and Brian Byrne. Downtown administers their catalogs, assists in the placing scores in advertising and trailers and creating opportunities for songwriters and copyrights.

"In terms of repurposing film scores I am the first to say it can be limiting though there is a definitely a market," Driscoll-Dunning says. "We recently licensed a cue from Hans Zimmer's The Pacific for a Jeep campaign. Junkie XL created a composers series for us where we had great success in the trailer and advertising worlds. Andrew Wyatt, lead singer of Miike Snow, is currently working on original song for a tentpole film. Also, Atticus is being asked to do original music for commercials and brands like Nike."

Part of Downtown's growth into film composing takes advantage of shifts in film financing away from the studios. Retaining music copyrights are negotiable in independent films, rarely so on the studio side.

While helping administer copyrights globally, Driscoll-Dunning says composers' agents and producers are increasingly asking whether the publisher can assist in financing scores. The requests are being looked at on a case-by-case basis, she says.

"We are interested in investing in film scores, but not at the cost of taking 100 percent of the publishing rights from a composer" as other companies do, Driscoll-Dunning says. "There's a another more artist friendly and efficient business plan whereby you can help a composer reach his goal in terms of creating a proper music budget without taking away his publishing."

An edited version of this article first appeared in the Jan. 24 issue of Billboard.