Billboard’s Ed Christman rounds-up all the big news happening in the music publishing world.
The Atlas Music Group continues to make moves to put the firm at the forefront of the music publishing map. In its latest action, it has signed Eddie and Alex Van Halen to an exclusive worldwide publishing administration deal.
The deal covers Van Halen’s entire catalog except for the last album, A Different Kind of Truth.
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“This deal has been a long time coming,” Atlas Music Group CEO Rich Stumpf told Billboard. “I have been after Irving Azoff [the manager for the brothers] and Peter Paterno [the lawyer for the brothers], for five years to find out if there would ever be an opportunity to work with the Van Halen catalog. They are my favorite all-time band so this is kind of a surreal moment where my professional and personal lives are coming together.”
Now that he has landed his dream band, the work begins. “We will give their music the proper push for synchronizations in films, TV and commercials,” Stumpf says. “This is a premium catalog, so we will look for the right films and brand advertisers to place their music with.”
As part of that move, Stumpf says they will focus on opportunities to reach the younger music consumers. “That is how you maintain the value of the [legacy artists] catalog by reaching the younger generations that come along,” he says. “A lot of the decision makers themselves are young so we will have to educate them on the importance of Van Halen, and not just their many hits.”
The deal now brings the Atlas Music Group catalog to about 4,000 songs, including the Combustion Music catalog the company acquired in September 2014. As part of that deal, Atlas and the Nashville publisher created a going forward joint-venture.
Consequently, the company now has 25-30 active songwriters, with 15 staffers in three locations, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.
“This is the most important band we have signed; they are legends,” says Stumpf, who launched Atlas in 2013. “It speaks volumes that after being with one company for 30 years that they have chosen to move to an independent music publisher that is trying to do things a little differently…This is an important moment not just for us for the independent music publishing community.”
Previously, the duo’s music publishing catalog had been handled by Warner/Chappell Music. “We will help ensure that new generations of music listeners are keenly aware of just how important Van Halen is to the music world and how incredible their songwriting is,” Stumpf said in a statement.
— Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Spotify have announced the signing of a new licensing deal for Europe. The deal enables Spotify to continue to offer its users Sony/ATV’s Anglo-American repertoire in all 30 territories making up the European Economic Area (EEA).
“As streaming services continue to grow, Sony/ATV is delighted to be continuing our relationship with Spotify at this pivotal moment for the music industry,” Sony/ATV chairman and CEO Martin Bandier said in a statement. “We share two important goals — growing the market for paid-for music subscription services for the benefit of music lovers everywhere while delivering fair compensation to our songwriters for the use of their songs. We believe we have accomplished that with this agreement.”
Sony/ATV controls the largest music publishing catalog in the world while Spotify is considered to be the largest music streaming service. “We look forward to continuing our work together to deliver great music to fans around the world and fair compensation to songwriters for their terrific work,” Spotify chief content officer Ken Parks said in a statement.
— Round Hill Music has entered into a joint-venture with Feel Music Group in a deal that will see the two collaborating on a label — Feel Music Records/Round Hill Records — and a publishing company.
According to the announcement, the two partners will merge recourses on artist development, marketing, PR, promotion synch licensing and publishing administration, with the record label portion of the joint-venture going through RED.
“We’ve assembled a stellar team, and have some amazing releases planned over the next year,” according to a statement issued by Feel Music principal Eric Krasno, who is also founding member of the band Soulive. “The London Souls are our first signing.”
In another move, Round Hill Music have signed the New Jersey-band, the Karma Killers, to an exclusive worldwide co-publishing deal. The band, which are signed to Island Records will play the 2015 Vans Warped Tour, the announcement noted.
“The Karma Killers are more like dream catchers, they capture my imagination and bring me back to simpler times,” Round Hill Music senior VP of A&R Jonnie Davis said in a statement. “They’re fresh, young, charismatic and exciting with a retro, edgy sound.”