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Publishing Briefs: Rodney Jerkins Puts Hipgnosis Under His Spell, Primary Wave Acquires Stake in Devo

A rundown of the latest moves in publishing, including high-profile catalog acquisitions by Hipgnosis (Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins) and Primary Wave (Devo).

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited has acquired the 982-song music catalog of four-time Grammy winner Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, who under the terms of the deal will also join Hipgnosis’ Investment Adviser’s Advisory Board. The agreement includes 100% of Jerkins’ writer’s share of income for his early works and 100% of his publishing interest and writer’s share of income for his later works.

Jerkins’ long list of hits includes tracks for Mary J. Blige (“I Can’t Love You”), Brandy (“The Boy Is Mine”), Whiney Houston (“It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”), Destiny’s Child (“Say My Name”), Beyoncé (“Déjà Vu”), Spice Girls (“Holler”/”Let Love Lead the Way”), Michael Jackson (“You Rock My World”), Sam Smith (“Stay With Me”), Lady Gaga (“Telephone” feat. Beyoncé), Jennifer Lopez (“If You Had My Love”), Justin Bieber (“As Long As You Love Me”) and Toni Braxton (“He Wasn’t Man Enough”).


“My relationship with Hipgnosis represents a relationship of mutual trust: Hipgnosis has placed its trust in me as an advisor, and I have entrusted Hipgnosis to manage a catalog that I have nurtured for 25+ years,” said Jerkins in a statement. “I have no doubt that Merck and Hipgnosis are the right home for my catalog because they have demonstrated that they appreciate the art and craft that underlie the copyright and have constantly supported music creators. I’m thankful for the music that God has enabled me to develop these past 25 years, and I’m excited, inspired, and motivated for what the future holds in the next phase of my career.”



Primary Wave has acquired a stake in the publishing catalog and master recordings of left-of-center rock icons Devo. The global acquisition includes the majority of the band’s catalog, including hits such as “Whip It,” “That’s Good,” “Girl U Want” and “Freedom of Choice.”

Under the deal, Devo will be provided access to Primary Wave’s publishing infrastructure, including digital strategy, marketing, licensing, sync opportunities and film and TV production.

Formed in 1972 in Akron, Ohio by Kent State art students Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo enjoyed a mainstream hit in 1980 with “Whip It,” which peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group has released a total of nine studio albums, most recently Something for Everybody in 2010.

“As a founder of Devo, the band and the concept, I feel the evidence of real De-evolution is growing daily,” said Casale in a statement. “Devo is relevant to current culture and I am excited that Primary Wave finds our body of work ripe for growing the Devo brand into the future. In partnership with them we hope to fortify our legacy.”



Sony/ATV has signed a round of deals that includes:

A worldwide co-publishing agreement with Grammy-nominated producer WondaGurl in partnership with Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Publishing. WondaGurl has produced a number of successful hip-hop and R&B tracks for Scott (“Antidote,” “No Bystanders,” “Can’t Say”), Pop Smoke (“Aim for the Moon” feat. Quavo, “Christopher Walking”), Rihanna (“B**ch Better Have My Money”) and Drake (“Company” feat. Travis Scott). She recently entered a publishing joint venture with Sony/ATV through her company Wonderchild, which is focused on developing the next generation of producers.

A global co-publishing agreement with Latin songwriter-producer-artist Ir Sais that encompasses Sais’ full catalog and future works. The deal for all songs is effective on September 30, though Sony/ATV already has Rauw Alejandro’s remix of Sais’ “Dream Girl,” the viral hit written in Sais’ native Papiamento language that recently hit 100 million views on YouTube. Hailing from the Caribbean island of Bonaire, Sais’ “Dream Girl” inspired a challenge on TikTok that collectively earned over four billion streams on the video-sharing platform. He has also self-released the albums Heat and Deeper and Deeper 2.0.

A renewal of its global co-publishing deal with Grammy-nominated country songwriter-producer Jaren Johnston via Sony/ATV Nashville. Johnston — who has written hits including Keith Urban’s “You Gonna Fly,” Jake Owen’s “Beachin’” and Tim McGraw’s “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” — has been with the publisher for 13 years. Johnston has recently worked on new music with Urban, McGraw, Owen, Florida Georgia Line, Steven Tyler and Dierks Bentley, among others. He also serves as the primary writer and lead singer in his band The Cadillac Three.

A worldwide co-publishing agreement with songwriter Jordan Walker via Sony/ATV Nashville that covers future works. Walker’s co-writing credits include Luke Combs’ “When it Rains it Pours,” Mitchell Tenpenny’s “Mixed Drinks” and Cassadee Pope’s “I’ve Been Good.” He is also known for being one-half of the duo Walker McGuire.



Universal Music Publishing Group has signed a global administration agreement with Brandi Carlile and her longtime bandmates and songwriters Tim and Phil Hanseroth.

A five-time Grammy winner, Carlile and the Hanseroth twins co-wrote seven of ten tracks off Tanya Tucker’s acclaimed 2019 album While I’m Livin’, including “Bring My Flowers Now,” which won Best Country Song at this year’s Grammys. Her song “The Joke,” also co-written by the Hanseroths, won Grammys for Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance and was also nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 2019 Grammys.

With her band The Highwomen — which also includes Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires — Carlile released the group’s self-titled debut album last fall, netting the hit single “Crowded Table.” She has also produced albums for The Secret Sisters and collaborated with artists including Dolly Parton, Sam Smith, Elton John and Pearl Jam.

Carlile was the recipient of Billboard’s Women In Music Trailblazer Award last December.



Kobalt has signed a global publishing deal with late jazz pianist McCoy Tyner that includes administration and sync services for Tyner’s entire catalog.

Over a career spanning six decades, five-time Grammy winner Tyner worked with such bold-faced names as Quincy Jones, George Benson, Carlos Santana, Stanley Clarke and more, recording and releasing nearly 80 albums as a featured artist, bandleader or musician. At just 21 years old, he joined The John Coltrane Quartet, with which he performed on songs including “My Favorite Things” and “A Love Supreme.”

Tyner died on March 6, 2020 at age 81.



Grammy-nominated producer-songwriter Robin Hannibal has signed a global co-publishing agreement with Big Deal Music covering all future compositions.

Hailing from Copenhagen and now based in Los Angeles, Hannibal’s writing and producing credits include tracks from Kendrick Lamar, James Blake, Chance the Rapper and Tyler, the Creator. He previously created music under the artist names Quadron and Rhye.



Concord and Creative Titans have struck a worldwide co-publishing deal with U.K. songwriter Nia-V, who has penned tracks for artists including Krept & Konan, Skepta and Major Lazer’s JR Blender, among others. The agreement covers Nia-V’s full catalog and future works.

Nia-V (a.k.a. Vania Khaleh-Pari) draws inspiration from R&B, pop, hip-hop, Arabic and Bollywood music. She most recently co-wrote Brandy’s single “Say Something” off the singer’s forthcoming album B7, which is slated for release on July 31.



Jillian Jacqueline has signed a worldwide admin deal with Kobalt covering the Nashville artist and songwriter’s future works.

Mentored by Kenny Rogers, Jacqueline has written and recorded alongside Vince Gill and Richard Marx, among others. She has released two Eps, SIDE A and SIDE B, and completed her first run of headline dates in 2019 in the U.S., followed by a string of shows with Kip Moore in the U.K.

Jacqueline is currently working on new music.