BMG Acquires Catalog of Verse Music, Includes Songs of Nina Simone, J. Lo

Peter Rodis/Sundance
A photo of Nina Simone from the film What Happened, Miss Simone? presented at the Sundance Film Festival 2015.

BMG has acquired the Verse Music Group catalog, which includes 40,000 songs and recordings from such catalogs as disco labels Salsoul Records and West End Records; the Bethlehem Music catalog of classic jazz; and Golden Records, an early children's music label.

The purchase is the latest in a busy year for BMG, including the purchase of Metal Rise in May, signing a deal for Chinese distribution with Alibaba, securing rights to Janet Jackson's upcoming record (her first in over seven years), securing Dave Stewart as its brand ambassador and securing a deal for licensing across Europe with German collection society GEMA (itself part of a larger network announced recently).

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources estimate the publishing catalog of having $530,000 in net publishers' share, while the net label share is estimated at $550,000, generating a combined gross profit of nearly $1.08 million in 2012 and 2013, according to sources. Revenues were projected to be worth over $1.5 million in 2014 and 2015.

The recorded masters of the record labels picked up in the deal include recordings by Loleatta Holloway, Instant Funk, Joe Bataan, Skyy, Charo and the Salsoul Orchestra (Salsoul); Taana Garner's "Heartbeat," Barbara Mason'a "Another Man," and New York Citi Peech Boys' "Don't Make Me Wait," (West End); recordings by Nina Simone, Carmen MacRae, Dexter Gordon and Billy Eckstine (all Bethlehem Records; and 25,000 children recordings made in the 1950's and 1960's (Golden Records).

The publishing catalogs of W&R Music and Camex Music include such songs as Jennifer's Lopez's "Waiting For Tonite," Akon's "Never Took the Time," Kelly Osbourne's "Shut Up" and "Sandy," from Grease.

The Verse Music Group was formed in 2010 by songwriters/producers Curt Frasca and Sabelle Breer, working in conjunction with the private equity firm, the Wicks Group. Sources say the Wicks Group were looking for $15 million; whether BMG paid that is unclear. The deal was shopped by Shot Tower Capital.