David Renzer, former Univeral Music Publishing Group chairman/CEO, has been installed as chairman of Spirit Music Group, the indie publisher that owns the Pete Townshend, Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Marc Bolan catalogs, among other notable songwriter portfolios.
“What attracted me to Spirit Music is they are a fantastic company that has quietly built up one of the finest owned catalogs,” says Renzer. “They own classic songs, have a great catalog and a great reputation.”
Mark Fried will continue as president/CEO and will work closely with Renzer to grow the catalog and developing and implementing the company’s strategic objective, according to a statement issued by the company.
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Renzer, who will commute between the New York and Los Angeles office, says the goal is to double the size of Spirit Music through acquisitions, increasing signings of contemporary artists/songwriters/ and producers; and improving operations. Pegasus Capitol Advisors is the financial partner that provides funding for deals.
“If we want to pursue a larger acquisition, we will have the ability to scale up,” Renzer says. “I am exciting about that aspect because Spirit is such a strong platform.”
While Renzer spent 15 years with UMPG culminating in leading the company, his music career developed at independent music publishing firm Zomba Music, where he rose through the ranks to become senior VP/GM. Fried said that the addition of Renzer would help Spirit Music to continue to re-define music publishing for the new millennium.”
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During his tenure at UMPG, major signings included the catalogs of Elton John/Bernie Taupin, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake, U2, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Dave Grohl, Bon Jovi and Danny Elfman as well as doing deals for the Holland Dozier Hollland, and the Henry Mancini catalogs, according to the announcement about his joining Spirit.
Looking at the Spirit catalog, which also includes songs by Billy Squier, Angelique Kidjo, Boz Scaggs, Chicago, Angela Winbush, Marshall Tucker Band, C+C Music Factory, Chaka Khan, Charles Minges, Pure Prairie League, James William Guercio, Charlie Musselwhite, David Paich, Dick Wagner, Ray Hildebrand, the Grateful Dead, Lou Christie, the Go Go’s, Teddy Randazzo, the Waitresses, and Wang Chung.
Renzer says that the company is actively involved in putting together a game plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pete Townshend’s body of work with the Who.
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In addition to classic songs, Spirit Music also has songs from a plethora of current songwriters/artists/producers including Scissor Sisters, Neil Davidge, Soft Swells, The Naked & Famous, the Used, Old Crow Medicine Show, Kyla LaGrange and San Cisco, Renzer adds.
“The other thing that is interesting about Spirit is they have done very well signing young artists to deals early on and then getting synchronization opportunities for them,” he says. In general, Renzer says Spirit is “very proactive and have an incredible track record for synch placements.”