Publishing Briefs: Ole Acquires Anthem Entertainment Group, Home of Rush

Photo credit: Richard Sibbald
L-R: Robert Ott (Chairman & CEO of Ole), Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson (Rush), Ray Danniels (Rush manager, SRO/ANTHEM and owner of Core)

Also: The Kaiser Chiefs sign a new global publishing deal with Imagem Music.

Ed Christman wraps-up all the big stories happening in music publishing.

Canadian music publisher ole has taken a big step in the record label business with the acquisition of the Anthem Entertainment Group, the Canadian record label started by Ray Danniels in the mid 1970's that has issued albums by Rush, Big Wreck, the Tea Party, Ian Thornley, Bob & Doug McKenzie (Strange Brew), Ian Thomas, Coney Hatch, Moe Koffman and Steven Page among others. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal builds upon ole's opening of red dot, an artist develop label launched earlier this year with releases from Haley Reinhart, Josh Dorr and Josh Thompson.

"ole is very excited about entering the label services business and building on the foundation of Ray Danniel's storied company, ole chairman and CEO Robert Ott said in a statement. "ole is proud to continue to be the home of Rush and the other great artists with Anthem. We look forward to working closely with Anthem's artists and business partners to further success."

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As part of the deal, Anthem's long-time A&R director Andy Curran joined ole as GM of labels services/A&R; brining along Tyler Tasson as manager of label services, while Anthem vp Pegi Cecconi will work as an ole consultant.

"I am pleased that Anthem and its ongoing legacy have found a new home with ole," said Danniels, who will continue as president of SRO Management, which represents Rush and other artists. Daniels said that the deal with ole and Ott gives Anthem Entertainment and Anthem Records a vision for the future while "protecting its past."

Earlier in 2014, ole acquired the Rush publishing catalog, known as Core Music Publishing, and earlier in 2015, the Mark-Cain publishing catalog from Anthem Entertainment. That deal included 40 albums from such Canadian artists as Max Webster, Ian Thomas, Lawrence Gowan, The Reason, Coney Hatch, Boys Brigade, Rikers, Spoons, and Aerial.

The latest deals give ole another 2,100 master recordings and 1,200 audio/visual masters.

In the U.S., Anthem acts are distributed by the Warner Music Group and Concord. Rush, the label's best-selling act, has scanned more than 15 million album units since the advent of Nielsen SoundScan, now known as Nielsen Music, in 1991.

Alex Lifeson, guitarist and co-founder of Rush, said, "I'm pleased to see that Anthem Records has landed with ole, the home of our music publishing catalog. I wish them great success with their new label business. Congratulations to our longtime manager Ray Danniels and CEO of ole, Robert Ott on completing their deal!"

Imagem Music have signed the Kaiser Chiefs to a new global publishing deal, representing all future copyrights in addition to existing copyrights in the UK and Europe. Imagem previously served as publisher for the band, via the Kaiser Chief's publishing agreement with Rondor Music, which Imagem acquired the U.K. rights in 2008.

"Our history with the Kaisers goes back to the very beginning at Imagem," Imagem Music MD Kim Frankiewicz said in a statement. "As a band they have evolved and the spirit of their songwriting has an unbound energy. I'm delighted to be working with them once more, this time on a global basis, working alongside our offices in Europe, North America, as well as our partners throughout the world"

The band has just renewed its deal with Fiction Records/Caroline and is in the studio recording its sixth album. "We're delighted to sign a direct deal for Kaiser Chiefs with Imagem Music," said band manager James Sandom of Redlight Management. "Imagem has proven a dedicated and creative home for the band since the acquisition of Rondor Music in 2008, helping secure a number of substantial licenses and showing the attention to detail any artist would wish for from their publisher."

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) last month added what share of a song it controls to its publicly available online database each of the more than 10 million musical compositions in the ASCAP repertory.

The update supports ASCAP's request to the US Department of Justice for its members to have more flexibility in their ability to withdraw certain digital rights from the ASCAP repertory by providing a more complete and transparent picture of the intellectual property rights represented by ASCAP. As part of that process, the DOJ is considering enforcing 100% licensing of songs, in exchange for allowing publishers to partially withdraw digital rights. But allowing any rights holder to license the entire song—as is stated in copyright law—and not just their share of the song, goes against industry practice of fractional licensing.

ASCAP is on record as stating that requiring 100% licensing would negatively affect its songwriter and music publisher members.

"If public performance rights societies are going to survive and thrive in a global music economy driven by data, then we must be willing to be fully transparent regarding what shares of songs we are licensing," ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said in a statement. "ASCAP is willing to lead the fight for greater transparency in this sector to support fair market value payments to our songwriter and publisher members and we urge other stakeholders to follow suit. "

ASCAP becomes the first U.S. PRO to publicly state what percentage of a song it controls for public performances.

Downtown Music Publishing has added two new members to its film and television department in Los Angeles, bringing aboard  Robyn Booker as senior director of film/TV; and Ruchika Advani as film/TV Associate. Both report to Downtown VP of film/TV Jumee Park.