If you have a few shekels to invest and are looking to own a piece of the publishing of some of the hottest songs around today, like Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade,” Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You,” B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” and Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It,” now’s the time to open up your purse-those songs are coming up for sale.
Arthouse Entertainment, the boutique music publishing and production company owned by entertainer/songwriter Kara DioGuardi and her partner Stephen Finfer, is about to put those hits-as well as 100 other songs-up for sale as part of a move to bring in a new financial partner. Arthouse songs have been administered by BMG Chrysalis, which acquired Bug Music last year, but that deal is coming to an end.
Arthouse has hired John Rudolph of Music Analytics/Siemer & Associates and Jaimison Roberts of Roberts & Hafitz to serve as advisers and run the sale.
“We are selling a schedule of songs [including] a number of established hits from the last few years,” Finfer says. “You can walk in and buy [Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg’s] ‘Young, Wild & Free’ and the Band Perry’s ‘Postcard From Paris.'”
While there are a preponderance of publishers willing to buy evergreen songs, it takes a degree more expertise to value new hits. Still, Finfer is positive that the songs up for sale are marketable right now for synch, cover and a multitude of other uses. “The hits compiled in this catalog over the last four years have the ability to endure and be part of the cultural psyche forever,” he says.
Meanwhile, Arthouse is keeping its writers and their contracts and intends to continue operating the boutique music publisher. As such, it is looking for a partner to help finance the operation, serve as an administrator and handle some back-room functions, and a high bid alone may not be enough to win the deal.
Sources say that the songs up for sale generate net publisher’s share of about $1.2 million annually and that the sellers are looking for at least a five-times multiple, or $6 million. Informed sources also say the sale process has just begun with potential suitors being sent nondisclosure agreements. After signing the NDA, suitors will get a book and a process letter, with indications of interest due in mid-July, followed by a period for due diligence and final bids due by mid- to late August.
DioGuardi, who sold her catalog to Bug in 2008 and signed a co-publishing deal that’s now with BMG Chrysalis, says Arthouse will continue to be an incubator for writers early on in their careers.
“When we started [Arthouse], it was to administer my copyrights,” DioGuardi says. “Then we decided to sign other songwriters who could write with me, but that eventually morphed into a self-standing company. Now, we figure out which songwriters and artist/songwriters would be best for our songwriters to collaborate with and make sure they have a shot at the single cuts.”