Publishing Briefs: Warner Chappell Signs Dustin Lynch; Kobalt Catches Modest Mouse Frontman

Dustin Lynch
Connor Dwyer

Dustin Lynch

Nashville hitmaker Dustin Lynch has inked a global publishing agreement with Warner Chappell Music. An inducted member of the Grand Ole Opry who was toured alongside the likes of Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett and Keith Urban, Lynch has been dubbed "one of the most consistent and exciting artist/writers in country music," by WCM Nashville's vice president of A&R strategy Ryan Beuschel.

The deal with WCM arrives after a banner year for the artist and songwriter. After the success of his fourth album TULLAHOMA, he ended 2020 as Billboard's third most played artist on the Country Airplay chart. Now, Lynch is "thrilled" about working with the major publishing and ready to "take this next chapter of making music to a whole new level."

Kobalt Music has signed Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock to a global publishing administration agreement which will see Kobalt providing creative, synch, and administration services for his stake in the band's new album The Golden Casket.

According to Brock, he is "thrilled" to be partnering with Kobalt, saying that the company has shown great "transparency with which they run their business." Jamie Kinelski, Kobalt's vice president of creative, added that the Kobalt team is "grateful for the opportunity to represent [Brock's] songs."

Sony Production Music has announced that EMI Production Music has returned to its flagship brand name KPM Music after ten years under the former title. According to Russell Emanuel, Sony Production Music's president and CEO, the flagship name is held by professional music aficionados "in the highest regard." Noting that KPM "set the bar that is still the blueprint for many of today's high-end production music libraries" during the golden age of TV theme music.

A premiere synch music brand, KPM began as a partnership between two music instrument makers in 1830 but began operating under the name KPM in 1960 after a merger with Peter Maurice music company. Nine years later, it became part of the EMI family, and was rebranded to EMI Production Music in 2011.

Sony Music Publishing UK has extended its global publishing deal with platinum-selling singer and songwriter James Vincent McMorrow. Known for his delicate breathy vocals and his emotive, stripped back songwriting, he has penned tracks with Kenny Beats, Kygo, Dvsn, All Tvvins and Claptone and has had an impressive artist career of his own. Notably, his cover of "Wicked Games" by Chris Isaak was featured in the sixth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones and revived the 1991 hit for new audiences.

The songwriter has been with Sony Music Publishing UK since he "was literally a kid on Myspace uploading songs, the first people to believe in my songwriting." And although the global pandemic has been "fairly rubbish" for McMorrow "songwriting was one of the few things in [his] life that [he] could control." Adding, "I'm excited I'm able to [continue songwriting] with a group of people I genuinely like and trust."

David Ventura, president and co-managing director of Sony Music Publishing UK added, "We are all delighted to continue working with the one and only James Vincent McMorrow."

Nashville-based publisher SMACKSongs has signed worldwide publishing agreements with both Marc Beeson and Caroline Watkins.

Marc Beeson, a country songwriting veteran, has had previous publishing deals with Sony Music Publishing, Crossfire 3, Warner Chappell and most recently Downtown Music Publishing since he began his career in the early 90s. During his first decade in the business, he was a signed artist as well with a few charting singles under his belt, but the talent is now best known as a hitmaker, penning songs for country's top crop.

Beeson has written songs with Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood, Sam Hunt, Lady A, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Billy Currington, and more. For his work, he was awarded the ASCAP Country Song of the Year in 1993 and Pop Song of the Year in 1994.

"Marc brings something really special to our roster," says SMACKSongs CCO Robin Palmer. "Our team is really excited to welcome him and continue this journey with him." Beeson adds, "[Robin] and the whole SMACK crew have made me feel so welcome and I'm grateful to be part of their team."

For Caroline Watkins, this deal marks her second publishing agreement, following her deal with Warner Chappell which she signed just after her high school graduation. Since then, she's earned the Belmont University Miranda Lambert Women Creators Scholarship and has opened for country stars like Walker Hayes, Willie Nelson, and Brett Eldridge. Now, Watkins partners with the independent Music City publisher, founded and led by Grammy-winner Shane McAnally.

“I could not be more excited to start working with SMACK. Shane [McAnally] has been an incredible mentor and friend to me over the years, so it’s a dream come true to get to work with his team” says Watkins of the deal.

Position Music has inked a worldwide co-publishing deal with rising artist/songwriter Andrew Migliore, better known as No Love For The Middle Child or "No Love." A Philadelphia native, No Love has penned tracks with artist in wide ranging genres, from hip hop to alternative rock to indie pop, including marquee names like Meek Mill, Jadakiss, Jessie Reyez, grandson, MOD SON, and Sueco.

When he's not writing for other artists, No Love has his own artist projects and is a classically trained cellist. In a statement released by Position Music, No Love said "Position Music felt like the right home for a number of reasons, but what sealed the deal was their hustle. Even before signing they would line up sessions and bridge connections for me."

The deal with Position includes the songwriters back catalog as well as works made moving forward under the deal.

Sony Music Publishing U.S. Latin has signed 20-year-old Argentinian songwriter/artist Tiago PZK to a global publishing agreement. A rapper and singer, Tiago PZK is known best for his ability to bridge the gap between trap and R&B. He first made his mark on music in 2018 with the release of "Andamo en la Cima" and "Sola" in 2019 which led to a host of collaborations with other Spanish language talent like Rusher King, María Becerra and FMK.

"Signing with Sony Music Publishing is a big step in my career," says Tiago PZK. Signing the new deal is the artist/songwriter's first step toward his debut album, which is set to release in early 2022.

Jorge Mejia, president and CEO of Sony Music Publishing U.S. Latin and Latin America said, "We couldn’t be happier to be part of his journey, we can’t wait to see where it takes us."

Double Down Music, the new publishing division of Play It Again (PIA) Music Group, has signed RCA Records artist Rachel Wammack to a global publishing deal. Dubbed a "rare talent" that PIA Group founder Dallas Davidson has only seen "a few times in [his] career," Wammack is a country singer/songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Named one of CMT's Next Women in Country and Bobby Bones Class of 2019, the artist and songwriter joins Double Down's growing roster of songwriters, including Blake Bollinger, Lee Brice and Clara Calaway.

Warner Chappell Music U.S. Latin has signed a new worldwide co-publishing deal with 14-year-old songwriter VF7. The terms of the deal include both VF7's back catalog and works made moving forward under the new WCM deal.

Hailing from Puerto Rico, VF7 is a fast-rising female singer and songwriter, mixing trap, R&B, dance, and reggaeton. Her debut album Núcleo, which was released in February 2021, saw the new talent collaborating with top producers like Chris Jeday & Gaby Music, Nino, Mr Nais, and Dulce Como Candy among others.

"She’s full of energy and has captured the world’s attention with her fun, feel-good music, and she takes her craft seriously. There’s no limit to what she can accomplish,” says Lazaro Hernandez, vp of a&r at WCM Latin and Latin America.

Wise Music Group, formerly known as The Music Sales Group, has acquired Emily Music Corporation. The two companies have had a long lasting working relationship for the past few decades, and Wise Music Group's move to acquire Emily Music and its compositions is a major step towards growing its catalog. Though Wise already owns or controls over half a million compositions ranging everywhere from jazz to pop, Emily Music's marquee copyrights, including classics like "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," "Catch a Falling Star," and "Playground in My Mind," will be an important new addition.

According to Tomas Wise, CEO of Wise Music USA, the company is "honored to have been trusted," with the legacy of the late songwriter Lee Pockriss (author of "Itsy Bitsy" and "Catch a Falling Star") as well as Paul Vance and other classic songwriters in the Emily Music catalog.