Billboard’s Ed Christman rounds-up all the big news in the music publishing world.
— Warner/Chappell Music has announced that in November Virgin EMI music president Mike Smith will join the company as managing director of its U.K. operation. Until then, the office will be overseen by Jon Platt, to whom Smith will report.
Through a career at MCA Music Publishing and EMI Music publishing, Smith’s signings have included Blur, Elastica, Supergrass, Doves, Gorillaz, The White Stripes, The Libertines, Scissor Sisters, Arcade Fire, and Arctic Monkeys. Smith’s music publishing career spanned from 1988 until 2006, when he began working on the record labels side of the business, first as the MD of Columbia Records U.K. and then as president of music at Mercury Records, and finally as president of Virgin EMI.
“Having started my career in music publishing, it is exciting to be returning to a sector of the industry where I enjoyed so many great times,” Smith said in a statement. “Warner/Chappell is one of the real icons of music publishing, and it is an honor and a privilege to have been asked to help guide this great company and the amazing songwriters and catalogs it represents.”
This appointment marks the latest in a series of moves that Platt has made since taking the reins as Warner/Chappell’s CEO in November 2015, and then becoming the company’s chairman at the beginning of this month. Other hires and promotions include Paul Kahn as CFO; Katie Vinten and Ryan Press to co-heads of A&R in the U.S. (excluding Nashville); and Chuck Gamble as VP, Catalog Promotions.
Of his latest hire, Platt said in a statement, “Throughout his brilliant career, across both music publishing and recorded music, Mike has demonstrated his commitment to the art of songwriting, putting great songs at the heart of everything he does… With Mike overseeing our U.K. operations, we will be even more powerful as a global destination for the most distinctive, popular, and culturally significant songwriters in the world.”
— Sony Music/ATV has signed a worldwide publishing deal with songwriter Sean Douglas, who has penned or co-wrote such songs as Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” and “Wiggle;” David Guetta’s “Hey Mama;” Nick Jonas’ “Levels;” Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack,” and Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man.”
Moreover, the announcement notes that Douglas has scored hits in a number of genres including, pop, dance, R&B, hip-hop and country. Other acts he has collaborated or written with include Madonna, 5 Seconds of Summer, Chris Brown, and Hillary Duff among others.
“Sean Douglas is one of the most talented and diverse songwriters and his talents have no boundaries,” Sony/ATV senior VP and head of West Coast writer relations Amanda Berman-Hill said in a statement. “We are beyond thrilled to have him join the Sony/ATV family and look forward to being a partner in his continued success.”
— Atlas Music Publishing have signed singer/songwriter/producer and smash hitmaker Sean Garrett to a publishing deal. Among the artists he has written or co-written hits for include Usher, Beyoncé, Enrique Iglesias, Ciara, Chris Brown, Nikki Minaj, Destiny’s Child, Ludacris, Mario and Fergie.
“I’ve been wanting to work with Sean since he first hit the industry hard in 2004,” Atlas Music Group CCO Jennifer Blakeman said in a statement. ”Usually, when a writer says ‘aim high’ they are talking about the A-Level artists that everyone wants to work with. When Sean says ‘aim high,’ he’s talking about the quality of the song he wants to write. That says a lot about his dedication to the craft of songwriting, and sets him way ahead of the pack.”
— New Songs Administration has signed a multi-territory deal to represent A Schroeder International, a catalog containing works mainly written or co-written by Brill Building writer Aaron Schroeder.
The catalog, which also includes Big A Music LLC, Little a Music Llc and Rachel’s Own Music catalogs and is controlled by Aaron’s wideo Abby Schroeder, includes works recorded by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Cliff Richard, Bobby Vee and Roy Orbinson, among others, and includes such Elvis Presley songs as “A Big Hunk Of Love,” I Got Stung,” and “I Was The One.” Moreover, Schroeder continued to write and collaborate with artists through the 1990’s, including Barry White.
“Aaron Schroeder is a songwriter sometimes overlooked in the pantheon of great songwriters,” New Songs Administration director John Fogarty said in a statement. “Just look at the list of artists who have recorded his works – it’s breath-taking. From Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis to Frank Sinatra crooning, his breadth of genres in amazing.”
For example, he wrote, “I Was The One,” which was actually the “B” side of Presley’s debut RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956. Then two years later, the song “French Foreign Legion” was recorded by Sinatra in 1958 in the Capitol Tower building with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. “Writing for these two iconic artists at the peak of their respective careers in two entirely different genres” is quite a distinction, according to Fogerty.
“We are going to actively work on placing such wonderful songs in TV and commercials,” Fogerty said.
— Spirit Music has signed Loudon Wainwright III to a global publishing agreement in a deal that encompasses the majority of his catalog created in his 40-year-plus career.
Wainwright came to the fore when the song “Dead Skunk” became a Top 20 hit in 1972. He’s released 26 albums to date, according to the announcement with his most recent album, Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet), released in 2014.
“Loudon’s long career and the consistent level of success he’s experienced throughout it speaks to the kind of talent he is,” Spirit Music chairman David Renzer said in a statement. “It’s rare to find a catalog of music that is as smart, vibrant and artful as his, so it’s an absolute honor to be the publisher of a songwriter of Loudon’s caliber.”
Beyond his own recordings, Wainwright has also co-written music with songwriter/producer Joe Henry for Judd Apatow’s hit movie Knocked Up; written music for the British theatrical adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen novel Lucky You; and composed topical songs for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and ABC’s Nightline.
“With Loudon at the point of his career that he is – having created such a large catalog of incredible music – choosing the right publisher is a very important decision, Wainwright’s manager Tim Bernett of Bernett Management said in a statement. “Both Loudon and I feel like we’ve found the perfect partner in Spirit. They’re fans of his music, and more importantly they really understand what he wants out of a publisher and are capable of delivering the services and support we’re looking for.”
— Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville has signed an exclusive global publishing deal with artist/songwriter Kane Brown, who released his debut single, “Used To Love You Sober,” earlier this year. He is currently working on his debut album, while also headlining his own tour, according to the announcement.
“Kane Brown’s charismatic voice matched with his magnetic look screams superstar and the level at which he connects with his fans is revolutionary in our format,” UMPG Nashville executive VP/GM Kent Earls said in a statement. “We are honored to be the home of Kane’s songs for years to come.”
— Round Hill Music signed electro-pop artist Emilie Brandt to a synch-rep deal. In early 2015, Brandt released her second single “Wolves” which was followed by her digital self-titled EP, Humans.