And the former Warner Music exec answers the burning question: what the heck is a "audiovisual secondary-rights business"?
On June 5, ole media Management, a music publishing company owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, ceased to exist -- sort of. The 15-year-old firm changed its name to Anthem Entertainment as part of a rebranding that reflects its evolution into a music company with several distinct departments, as well as the vision of CEO Helen Murphy, a veteran music executive who took the helm last November. "Our roots are in music publishing," she says. But at this point, publishing accounts for only about half of Anthem's business -- which also now includes recordings, music production services and audiovisual royalties collection.
Murphy wants the rebranding to put more focus on these businesses and give the company a name that's more dynamic (and, incidentally, easier on copy editors). The name comes from the original Anthem Entertainment Group, the Canadian record label founded by Rush manager Ray Danniels, which ole acquired in 2015. "It's a joyous name," she says, speaking by phone from the company's headquarters in Toronto, where Murphy, who grew up in Canada but spent most of her adult life in New York, now keeps an apartment. "Everybody knows what an anthem is."
The name change also signals a new direction for The Company Formerly Known as ole, which was one of the first publishing companies funded by an institutional investor -- in its case, the Pension Plan. Ole initially grew mainly through acquisitions -- it now has publishing rights to about 50,000 songs by over 400 songwriters -- and several years ago was said to be looking to sell itself. A sale never happened, and in May 2018 former CEO Robert Ott sold his stake in the business to the Pension Plan, which now owns the enterprise. Going forward, Murphy's plan involves organic growth.