Publishing Briefs: Music of The Sea Partners With MTV; Four Artists Sign With Sony

Eddie Caldwell
David Hopkins*

Eddie Caldwell

Music of The Sea, one the world’s largest black-owned sync publishing catalogs, has partnered with MTV Entertainment Group to provide content creators with "one stop, easy clearable, access to thousands of songs from its catalog," the press release reads. Songs included in Music of The Sea's multi-genre catalog include Marilyn Monroe's "How Wrong Can I Be,"  M C Lyte's  "Revolution," Roxanne Shante's "Handle Your Biz," Big Daddy Kane's "Inside Your Mind," Psychedelic Soul Crew's "Find Me Somebody," and more.

“This will be a great way for the multi-ethnic artists on our roster to gain tremendous exposure that will lead to more streams and downloads from digital service providers,” said Eddie Caldwell, Music of the Sea CEO and founder. "Real music from cool and hip artists, both major and indie, is the next frontier in marketing. We view Music of the Sea as a bridge to connect advertisers, gamers, restaurants, commercial retailers and film and TV companies such as MTV Entertainment Group, with a diverse catalog of the world’s greatest voices.”

Under the new partnership, MTV's creators only have to make one call in order to clear a track from Music of The Sea's catalog to be used in a project, as the the latter controls both sides of the copyright master side and publishing side. The former's creators work on projects spanning reality shows, phone apps, games and social media platforms, and are now able to utilize music from Music of The Sea's entire catalog.

Sony Music Publishing UK has signed breakout singer-songwriter Mimi Webb to an exclusive worldwide publishing deal that covers her full catalog and future works. “I’m thrilled to join the Sony Music Publishing family," she said in a statement. "I have been writing songs since such a young age, so having the opportunity to work with the best team in the business is a dream come true.”

The UK-born artist broke out with songs like “Before I Go" and “I’ll Break My Heart Again," earning hundreds of millions of streams and garnering attention on Tik Tok. These songs and others, like “Good Without,” and “Dumb Love,” are included in the deal.

“Mimi is without doubt a very special artist and songwriter and the speed with which her music has connected with her ever growing audience has truly underlined that," said Tim Major, co-managing director, Sony Music Publishing UK. "She has a huge future ahead of her and we are very proud that she has chosen Sony Music Publishing to be part of her already incredible team.”

On August 17, Sony Music Publishing Brazil announced the signing of Gilberto Gil to a worldwide publishing administration agreement. The two time Grammy-winning artist and activist is one of Brazil's most enduring cultural figures, with a music career spanning six decades and an indelible political legacy as Brazil's Minister of Culture from 2003 to 2008. During his time as Minister of Culture, Gil transformed the office, expanding the country's footprint worldwide as well as forming new initiatives to adapt the country's practices with copyright law, technology and diversity.

As a musician, Gil has become known as a pioneer of Tropicália, a genre popularized in the 1960s which amalgamated elements of bossa nova, basileira, and samba with rock and folk instruments. With his forward thinking approach to music, Aloysio Reis, managing director of Sony Music Publishing Brazil calls the artist "a creative genius."

"We are thrilled to be entrusted with the sweet responsibility of managing Gilberto's catalog, an invaluable artistic treasure," says Reis.

Verse 2 Music, a joint venture with Sony Music Publishing, has announced the signing of Levon Gray to a worldwide publishing agreement. The JV, which is led by Kane Brown and Kent Earls, will control Gray's entire back catalog as well as future works created under the new deal.

A fast-growing songwriter out of Nashville, Gray has recently been credited as one of the writers behind Brown's single "One Mississippi" which was released via RCA Records Nashville earlier this year and will become a major focus for Brown's team at country radio in the coming weeks.

Gray began his career as a music minister with a voracious appetite for all sorts of music, from blues to salsa. "I just love making music that can make memories," he says. Soon, his ministry days gave way to a genre-spanning career as an artist and songwriter, working on projects like Lil Baby's Street Gossip as well as his own artist project.

"We're excited to help achieve all his hopes and dreams," said Earls. "Welcome to the family, Levon!"

Sony Music Publishing has extended its worldwide deal with Tyler Perry Studios ("TPS") to administer all commissioned music across over 60 different productions from the studio, which is helmed by Perry and long-time music supervisor Joel C. High. The over 60 productions include more than 1,500 episodes of television, 26 films, 20 plays, and the renewal ensures that all future works created under the agreement will be administered by SMP as well. The administration of TPS's musical works will be handled by Sony's Visual + Media Rights division (formally known as the Broadcast & Media Rights division).

The relationship between Tyler Perry Studios and Sony Music Publishing began 10 years ago and the recently announcement acts as the extension of the already on-going partnership.

"At Sony Music Publishing, we are committed to supporting the studio’s talented composers and the music that bring these unique narratives to life," said Sony Music Publishing chairman and CEO Jon Platt.

Perry added, "I'm grateful for their support and passion for Tyler Perry Studios, and I look forward to future successes together."

UK-based independent music publishing Bucks Music Group has announced the signing of famed songwriter Sacha Skarbek to a worldwide administration deal. Along with the typical trappings of publishing administration, Bucks Music Group noted it will also provide additional creative services for Skarbek.

The deal includes future works from Skarbek as well as a portion of his back catalog. Although the pop hitmaker is best known for penning "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt, "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus, and "Cold Shoulder" by Adele, these works are not included in the catalog signed to Bucks Music Group.

Additionally, the songwriter has written with names like Jason Mraz, Lana Del Rey, Backstreet Boys, Sigrid, Jessie Ware, James Bay, Tears for Fears and more, and he has also tried his hand at scoring and music supervision.

Prior to this month's deal, Skarbeck worked with Bucks Music Group over ten years prior, making the new agreement feel like "coming home" for Skarbeck. "I couldn't be happier to be back at Bucks," he says. Along with the prior deal, Skarbeck's own music publishing company, Amadeus, has been administered by the team at Bucks Music Group for years. "It's a real pleasure to have him back at Bucks. We've always had a close relationship," says Sarah Liversedge Platz, director of A&R at Bucks Music Group.

Kobalt Music has inked a global publishing deal with Cosmo’s Midnight, spanning a full range of creative, synch and administration services for the electric pop duo's catalog and future works. “We definitely took our time with this publishing deal but in the end Kobalt felt like the right home for us," the band said in a joint statement. "It just felt like they all understood what we wanted to achieve with the Cosmo's Midnight project and for us as songwriters too."

The administrative deal covers the band's full catalog, which includes projects like 2018's What Comes Next, their debut album that clocked hundreds of millions of streams and earned two platinum and three gold records. Comprised of twin brothers Cosmo Liney and Patrick Liney, Cosmo's Midnight's first release following the announcement came in the form of a new single titled "Titanic" on Aug. 20.

“We literally spent close to a year choosing the right home for Cosmo's Midnight," manager Tom Huggett said. "Cosmo's Midnight are an act which we can see flourishing in just about any genre really, they've been working with rappers and R&B singers, they've written and played on house and techno records, they've put together ambient scores for radio shows, they've even produced and co-written a Billboard 100 song for one of the biggest pop groups in the world - BTS. Collaboration is so important to Cosmo's Midnight and we feel that Kobalt are the team to help take the twins to where they deserve to be.”

Curb | Word Music Publishing has signed rising country act and former American Idol contestant Harper Grace to a universal publishing deal. The Texas-born vocalist stood out in 2018 during her time on the singing competition show for performing her own original songs, which now have a home at Curb as part of the full-catalog plus future works deal.

“If I could tell my eleven-year-old self that at twenty she would be moving to Nashville and signing a pub deal, she would be praising her heart out right about now, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do to celebrate," Grace said. "If it weren’t for the man upstairs, none of this would be happening. I’m forever grateful for the privilege to wake up and do what I have dreamed of doing my entire life!”

Grace will soon join Nelly on his “Lil Bit of Music Series,” a concert tour supporting emerging country artists. Her signing to Curb | Word, owned and operated by Mike Curb, means her work will join that of artists like Garth Brooks on the publishing company's roster.