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Concord Music Publishing Buys Stake in Pulse Music Group, Forming New Joint Venture

Rich the Kid
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Rich the Kid performs onstage as a special guest of Murda Beatz during Weekend 1, Day 2 of the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 13, 2019 in Indio, Calif.

Concord Music Publishing has acquired a stake in the Pulse Music Group, and as a result will form an exclusive joint venture that will see the Pulse brand continuing with funding by Concord, which will also administer its new partner's catalog and future signings. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquired stake was previously owned by Pulse's financial partner, FujiPacific Music, which will continue to act as the sub-publisher for the Pulse catalog for most of Asia.

As part of the deal, Pulse co-founders Josh Abraham and Scott Cutler retain an undisclosed stake in in the company, which has a roster of 175 clients and a more than 10,000 song catalog including titles by such songwriters as Starrah, Ty Dolla $ign, OZ, Tyler Johnson, YEBBA, Rich The Kid, James Blake, YBN Cordae, El-P, and Bonnie McKee.

"Scott and Josh are proven winners whose business built from scratch is both complementary to and strategic with Concord's ambitions in music publishing," Concord chief publishing executive, Jake Wisely said in a statement. "It was quickly apparent that Pulse would make a great partner for us and Pulse recognized that Concord is the best fit for them."

Cutler and Abraham, along with their executive team of Pulse president Maria Egan and vp Ashley Calhoun, will run the joint venture with Concord Music Publishing. Moreover, Pulse has other joint ventures, including with Luke and Beth Laird's Creative Nation; Marc Anthony's Magnus Media; Nas's Mass Appel, Rick Rubin's American Recordings, among others.

"From Day 1, we built Pulse Music Group as a world class incubator for culturally relevant songs," Pulse principals Cutler and Abraham said in a joint statement. "We wanted to create a haven built by songwriters, for the modern songwriter culture. Through the hard work, A&R prowess, and passion of our entire team combined with the global footprint, financial capacity and administration expertise of the team at Concord, we are now well on our way to achieving that. This joint venture…enables us to continue providing world-class services to our writers who are at the forefront of every decision we make." 

Concord had been active in acquiring music publishing catalogs and recorded master catalogs in the past. However in 2017, after it made its biggest publishing acquisition yet in buying Imagem, it began concentrating more on recorded masters deals as music publishing valuations multiples started headed toward the stratosphere. Even as Concord continues to pursue record music acquisitions, this deal marks a major return to buying music publishing assets for Concord.

"While the broader market remains hyper-focused on deep publishing catalog and passive income-stream deals, Concord has chosen to differentiate itself with partnerships that greatly expand its abilities to create frontline content across compositions, recordings and theater,” Concord's chief business development officer Steve Salm said in a statement. "Recognized as one of the leading frontline publishers in the world, Pulse is a company that Concord has always greatly admired, and this collaboration instantly makes Concord a leader in the frontline pop, hip-hop and R&B publishing world."

Pulse was named the 2018 AIMP Music Publisher of the Year, and the company says it has over 60 BMI and ASCAP awards, while its catalog includes stakes in such hits as "Havana" by Camila Cabello and "Girls Like You" by Maroon 5,  the "Despacito (Remix)" by Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber  "Sorry" by Justin Bieber (BloodPop), "Roar" and "California Gurls" by Katy Perry and "Sicko Mode" by Travis Scott.

The deal with Pulse fills a void in the Concord music publishing catalog, which is dominated largely by classic hit songs from yesteryear. This deal gives Concord a taste in the current hit marketplace that generates billions of streams by relying on the A&R acumen of Cutler and Abraham's team.

Meanwhile, the sub-publishing agreement with Fujipacific are for Japan, India and Southeast Asia (including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Guinea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Borneo and Thailand). Pulse's current administrator, Music Asset Management, will continue to administer the Pulse catalog and new works until July 2020, when Concord takes over.

With the addition of the Pulse catalog, Concord Music Publishing now represents more than 400,000 copyrights.

In addition to Salm, the transaction was managed and negotiated for Concord by Bob Valentine, Larry Blake, Dan Hoffman and Evelyn Paglinawan with outside counsel provided by Reed Smith and financial advisory by Brian Richards of Squarefield Capital. Meanwhile, the Pulse Music Group's team was led by David Dunn and Robert Law of Shot Tower Capital and Jeffrey Light of Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP with counsel provided by Venable LLP.


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