Original TVT master recordings by artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Gravity Kills have been acquired by Los Angeles-based music publishing firm Bicycle Music. The deal includes 700 masters – roughly 80 albums worth of material – that were last controlled by Prudential Securities Credit Corp, which acquired them after a legal battle with TVT.
Included in the deal: Nine Inch Nails debut title “Pretty Hate Machine”; albums produced by the Connells; and the “Television’s Greatest Hits” library of TV theme songs, comprised of about 500 masters of licensed original recordings and owned re-recorded covers of famous theme songs; among other works. Bicycle Music partner/VP of business development and acquisitions Steve Salm added that music publishing rights for most of the masters is included in the deal. For example, the co-publishing rights to Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails catalog include the songs from all album releases from “Pretty Hate Machine” through “Year Zero.”
“From the Connells’ own brand of roots rock, to the avant garde Rise Robots Rise track turned international Tom Jones hit ‘If I Only Knew,’ to Trent Reznor’s game-changing record “Pretty Hate Machine,” this catalog embodies some of the most important works of the past 25 years if not in the history of modern rock,” Bicycle Music president and CIO Roger Miller said in a statement.
Salm says Bicycle will re-release “Pretty Hate Machine,” which has been out of print and officially unavailable through digital distribution outlets for several years. Bicycle will also re-release the Connells’ albums both physically and digitally but first it needs to cut a deal with a label or distributor to get the titles back out in the market.
Loan and litigation
The TVT assets and who controls them were the source of lawsuits between Prudential and TVT. The dispute began after Prudential provided a $23.5 million loan, backed by a portion of TVT’s pre-1994 catalog. The asset-backed financing was in the form of a 10-year loan, according to a story in the March 6, 1999 issue of Billboard. But the deal was cut near the end of the boom years for the music industry.
From 1999 through 2002, TVT paid more than $10 million toward the loan, but revenue from the assets used as collateral was suffering due to the decline of the overall music industry. When revenue began to drop dramatically, TVT first put in its own funds to make up the shortfall in the cash collateral coverage ratio, and then sought to renegotiate its loan payments, according to a story in the July 30 issue of Billboard. Those negotiations proved unsuccessful, and in August 2002, Prudential began litigation, alleging default, according to a story in the July 29, 2003 issue of Billboard.
TVT responded with a complaint of its own, alleging that Prudential violated the loan agreement and was seeking unfairly to take control of the catalog assets tied to the loan.
On Sept. 24, 2003, New York Supreme Court Judge Herman Cahn granted Prudential’s motion for summary judgment and directed that certain collateral assets held by TVT be turned over to the lender. That decision was upheld March 16, 2004, by the New York Appellate Division First Department, but other litigation concerning the dispute between Prudential and TVT continued at that time, including which company was entitled to the cash collateral held in TVT’s revolving credit facility; and whether Prudential had the right to let another record company handle the assets.
While Salm declines to provide details on the acquisition, he says most of Bicycle Music’s due diligence in closing the deal regarded extensive review of court documents and the Article 9 foreclosure which led to Prudential’s ultimate control and ownership of the TVT assets.
A Prudential Financial spokeswoman confirmed that it sold all the TVT holdings that served as collateral to the loan. She also said all litigation with TVT is resolved, but would not comment further. TVT founder Steve Gottlieb didn’t return a call for comment.