Spirit Music Group is founded by former BMI executive Mark Fried. It partners with London-based Palan Music for startup funding and a global network of subpublishers.
A wave of deals brings a trove of standards to Spirit through agreements with the estates of songwriters Bernie Wayne (“Blue Velvet”) and Johnny Burke (“Misty”) as well as 1960s hits from Lou Christie and Paul & Paula.
Spirit boosts its profile in rock and soul of the 1970s through deals for the song catalogs of Dick Wagner (“Only Women Bleed”), Orleans (“Love Takes Time”) and Taste of Honey (“Boogie Oogie Oogie”). It also starts representing the catalog of Irwin Levine (“Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” “Knock Three Times”).
Hitmakers from the ’80s join Spirit through deals with former Go-Gos bassist Kathy Valentine (“Vacation”) and The Waitresses (“I Know What Boys Like”).
Spirit’s catalog tops 5,000 songs after acquiring tunes by songwriters including John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas (“Kokomo”).
Holdings of ’70s and ’80s hits expand with the purchase of catalogs of The Marshall Tucker Band (“Heard It in a Love Song”) and Pure Energy, whose members Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens wrote Madonna’s hit “Holiday.”
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys reaches an agreement with Spirit to represent his solo songs and future works.
Spirit’s catalog reaches 100,000 songs. New acquisitions include publishers associated with Cameo Records (home to Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell and The Orlons). It also begins representing songs by C&C Music Factory (“Gonna Make You Sweat”) and Billy Squire (“The Stroke”).
Spirit moves into hip-hop through deals with writer-producer D/R Period (Public Enemy’s “He Got Game”) and Clark Kent (a producer on Mariah Carey’s Glitter).
New York rock icon Lou Reed signs with Spirit for representation of the Velvet Underground catalog (“Sweet Jane,” “Walk on the Wild Side”) and his solo work.
Spirit signs Chaka Khan, who brings four decades of funk and soul hits to the company (“I Know You, I Live You”). In a separate deal, Chris Blackwell’s Mountain Music brings the songs of Bob Marley to Spirit.
The New York-based pop group Scissor Sisters signs with Spirit, signaling a move by the company from its previous focus on established catalogs toward developing talent.
Spirit establishes a major presence in jazz repertoire through deals with Yusef Lateef and the estates of Charles Mingus and David “Fathead” Newman.
Expanding its international scope, Spirit reaches agreements to be the North American publisher for repertoire from Albert Music in Australia, Sugar Music in Italy and Hadem Music in Spain.
Spirit’s partnership with investment firm Babcock & Brown gives it access to funds for further acquisitions. Its latest deals are for the catalogs of Rick Nowels (Lana Del Rey, others), Wang Chung (“Everybody Have Fun Tonight”) and Right Said Fred (“I’m Too Sexy”).
In a groundbreaking deal, Spirit acquires the publishing, master catalog and trademark rights to the catalog of glam-rock pioneer Marc Bolan of T. Rex.
moving further into artist development, Spirit signs alt-rock act MGMT, which won the best new artist Grammy Award in 2010.
A new partnership with Pegasus Capital allows Spirit to acquire the catalog and producer rights of James Guercio (Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Buckinghams).
Alan & Marilyn Bergman sign with Spirit for their deep catalog, which includes “That Face” and “Nice N Easy,” the title song to a 1960 album by Frank Sinatra, and all future compositions.
Spirit signs David Paich (Toto’s “Rosanna”) and Boz Scaggs (co-author with Paich of “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle”).
A joint venture with The Jim Henson Company puts Spirit in business with the firm for film, TV and web projects.
Spirit acquires the catalog of Pete Townshend of The Who, including the group’s classic hits, his solo work and future songs.
David Renzer, former chairman/CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, is named chairman of Spirit.
Spirit Nashville is launched following the acquisition of Nashville-based country and Christian music publisher Cal IV.
New hitmakers come to Spirit through deals with Mick Schultz (Jeremih), Roy Stride (5 Seconds of Summer) and writer-artists Zooey Deschanel and Big Data.
Continuing its focus on classic catalogs, Spirit closes a deal to represent the compositions of Henry Mancini.
Spirit forms a joint venture with writer-producer T Bone Burnett for representation of his own songs and also to co-sign new writers.