Bicycle Music’s acquisition of Wind-up’s master recordings catalog and the plan to let sister company Concord Music Group market the records firmly establishes the Wood Creek Capital Management-financed amalgamation of music companies as a force to be reckoned with in back catalog.
At the same time, the deal reinforces a well-financed Wind-up Records, which will be moving forward aggressively in signing new developing artists, albeit without the safety net of a back-catalog income stream.
Wood Creek, a unit of Mass Mutual, owns Bicycle and Concord through separate investment funds it manages. In addition, Wood Creek has a stake in Varese Saraband, the movie soundtrack specialist label.
Wind-up’s catalog was shopped by MESA Global, a New York-based boutique investment bank. According to sources, at least five suitors looked at the company before a deal was struck with Bicycle. While terms of the pact weren’t disclosed, Billboard estimates Bicycle paid about $23 million for the catalog, which includes hits from gold and platinum acts like Creed, Alter Bridge, Evanescence and Seether.
In a move to ensure continuity for its artists, Wind-up will continue to market, through a servicing agreement with Bicycle, the Seether best-of “Seether 2002-2013,” which arrived the day before the deal closed. The album is part of the catalog acquired by Bicycle.
“The acquisition of Wind-up’s seminal catalog marks a record-high investment year for Bicycle Music, with more to come before 2013 closes out,” Bicycle co-president Steve Salm said in a statement.
In addition to Wind-up, Bicycle has acquired the Nitro Records label and the Music Publishing Co. of America. While the company didn’t reveal details about either acquisition, Billboard estimates it paid $2 million for Nitro and $12 million-$14 million for MPCA. In addition, Bicycle also acquired the publishing to Britney Spears’ “Womanizer,” from production team Outsyder Entertainment, and “I’m a Fool to Want You,” made famous by Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, from songwriter Joel Herron’s estate. By the end of the year, Bicycle will have spent about $50 million on acquisitions, Billboard estimates.
Besides Wind-up and Nitro, Bicycle has also acquired a portion of the TVT catalog, including Nine Inch Nails’ first record, “Pretty Hate Machine,” as well as recordings issued by Art Laboe’s Original Sound Entertainment and Delicious Vinyl. In total, the company now owns the master recordings of about 3,400 songs.
Wind-up and the other catalogs will be marketed to music merchants and consumers under a service agreement with Concord, according to the companies, while Bicycle will handle synch licensing for all of its master recordings.
In another move to leverage each other’s expertise, Bicycle will serve as administrator for Concord’s publishing catalog, managing its 16,000 titles.
Meanwhile, Wind-up will continue operating as a label with its roster of 15 acts: Aranda, Civil Twilight, Filter, Five for Fighting, Genevieve, James Durbin, Jillette Johnson, Scott Stapp, Strange Talk, the Darkness, the Griswolds, the Virginmarys, Young Guns, Crobot and the Revivalists. The company owns about 25 albums and about 500 copyrights. It also includes a management company with a dozen clients as well as a publishing operation.
Wind-up president/CEO Ed Vetri says, “It was time for Wind-up to sell our historical successes and move on to a new business model” that emphasizes developing up-and-coming, alternative-leaning artists.
Wind-up launched in 1997 when former music wholesaler/retailer Alan Meltzer bought Grass Records and later changed the name to Wind-up. After running the company for years, he turned down a number of opportunities to sell the label to the majors, eventually selling it to Vetri and chief creative officer Gregg Wattenberg. Wind-up’s latest deal closed a day before the two-year anniversary of Meltzer’s death.