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Publishing Briefs: ‘Positions’ Writer-Producer Signs With Reservoir, UMPG Snags Nashville Hitmaker

A rundown of the latest moves in publishing, including deals for Ariana Grande writer-producer Mr. Franks and six-time Grammy winner Dave Cobb. 

Reservoir has extended its publishing deal (first signed in 2016) with songwriter-producer Steven Franks (p.k.a. Mr. Franks), who recently co-wrote and/or co-produced nine tracks on Ariana Grande’s Billboard 200 No. 1 album Positions. The global agreement encompasses Franks’ catalog and future works.

Franks recently co-wrote and co-produced Justin Bieber’s “Holy” feat. Chance the Rapper) and co-wrote and co-produced two tracks off BLACKPINK’s debut studio album: “Ice Cream” with Selena Gomez and “Bet You Wanna” feat. Cardi B. He previously collaborated with Grande on the 2019 track “Boyfriend” (with Social House), as well as four songs off her 2016 album Dangerous Woman as well as her 2015 holiday EP Christmas & Chill.


Universal Music Publishing Group has signed six-time Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Dave Cobb to a global publishing deal for his future works.

Cobb has spearheaded albums for Brandi Carlile, The Highwomen, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, John Prine, Anderson East and Rival Sons. He was also a musical consultant on the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born and produced Lady Gaga’s “Always Remember Us This Way” from the film.

Based in Nashville, Cobb is head of the Elektra imprint Low Country Sound and producer-in-residence at the historic RCA Studio A. At the Grammys, he has won twice for Best Country Album (both for his work with Stapleton), three times for Best Americana Album and once for Best American Roots Song (for Carlile’s “The Joke”). He is managed by Andrew Brightman at Brightman Music.

Reservoir has signed three-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Ben Harper to a worldwide publishing deal. The agreement includes Harper’s entire catalog, including the new instrumental album Winter Is For Lovers, and his future works.

Harper has released a total of 14 studio albums, five live albums and three concert films both alone and with his longtime band The Innocent Criminals. His output also includes Fistful of Mercy, a project with Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur. Some of his best-known songs include “Diamonds on the Inside,” “Steal My Kisses,” “Boa Sorte,” “Burn One Down,” “Forever” and “You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend).”

Sony/ATV has signed songwriter and producer Jason Evigan to a global administration deal for his future works.

Evigan is known for his co-writing and co-producing tracks including Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” feat. Cardi B and “What Lovers Do” feat. SZA; Dan + Shay’s “I Should Probably Go To Bed”; Ellie Goulding’s “Hate Me” feat. Juice WRLD; Dua Lipa’s “Physical”; Kelly Clarkson’s “Heartbeat Song”; Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack”; and Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty.”

Evigan’s songs have also been featured in films such as Suicide Squad (Kehlani’s “Gangsta” and Skylar Grey’s “Wreak Havoc”), 50 Shades Darker (Nick Jonas’ “Bom Didi Bom” feat. Nicki Minaj) and The Fate of the Furious (Kehlani’s “Good Life” and Lil Yachty’s “Mamacita”). Elephant Heart, the duo he formed with his wife Victoria in 2016, has landed placements in ads including a commercial for Apple’s AirPods Pro.

Future Islands have signed a global administration deal with Third Side Music for the band’s full catalog, including the members’ respective solo projects, as well as future releases.

Formed in 2006, Future Islands released their latest studio album As Long As You Are in October via 4AD. The group consists of John Gerrit Welmers, William H. Cashion and Samuel T. Herring.

Sony/ATV has signed producer and songwriter Johnny Goldstein to a global co-publishing deal that includes both catalog and future works. The publisher has also teamed with Artist Publishing Group (APG) to provide creative services to Goldstein.

Goldstein produced 12 tracks on the The Black Eyed Peas’ eighth studio album TRANSLATION, including collaborations with artists such as Shakira, Tyga, Ozuna, Nicky Jam, Becky G, Maluma and French Montana. The Ozuna single, “MAMACITA,” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs and Latin Airplay charts earlier this year.

Currently, Goldstein is working on a number of projects with prominent artists and has also expanded to advertising, scoring several compositions in global campaigns for companies including Samsung, LG, Honda, Citroën, American Express, Heinz and 7 Up.

Nomcebo Nkwanyana (p.k.a. Nomcebo Zikode), a featured artist on and co-writer of Master KG’s global hit “Jerusalema,” has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV that encompasses her catalog (including her debut album Xola Moya Wam’) and future releases.

Born in Kwazulu Natal, Hammersdale, South Africa, Zikode rose to prominence when she was featured on South African producer DJ Ganyani’s 2018 track “Emazulwini.” She became known outside her home country with “Jerusalema,” which has so far garnered over 200 million views on YouTube and triggered the viral #JerusalemaDanceChallenge.

The success of “Jerusalema” has spawned popular remixes by Burna Boy and Micro TDH & Greeicy. The track was recently named the most Shazamed song worldwide.

DJs and producers Afro Bros have been signed to a worldwide administration deal by Universal Music Publishing Group for their full catalog and future works.

Based in The Netherlands and originally from Suriname, Afro Bros includes Rashid Badloe, Giordano Ashruf and Ogri (Shareef Badloe). Their credits include producing Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s single “X” and co-writing and producing Balvin’s “Amarillo.” Recent credits also include “Instagram” with Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, David Guetta, Daddy Yankee & Natti Natasha and “Boomshakalaka” with Sebastian Yatra, Camilo and Emilia.

Afro Bros are managed by YahYah Music partners Frost Hernandez and Louri Rodriguez.

Concord Music Publishing has signed singer-songwriter Donovan Woods to a global co-publishing deal that covers all future works and several songs off his latest album, Without People, which was released Nov. 6 and includes the singles “Seeing Other People” and “We Used To.”

Woods has written for artists including Tim McGraw and Lady A’s Charles Kelley. Without People, his seventh album, was recorded in his Toronto home during quarantine this year and features co-writes with Tucker Beathard, Ashley Monroe, Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson, Thomas Finchum and Katie Pruitt. He is managed by Michelle Szeto at Paquin Entertainment and represented by Paradigm Talent Agency (U.S.), Paquin Artists Agency (Canada), The Orchard, WMA Agency and Shore Fire Media.

Global publishing company Raleigh Music has announced a new joint venture with Grammy-nominated producer Eric Hudson.

The first signing to the venture is rising producer Danny “Ezra” Murdock, whose credits include work on John Legend’s “Remember Us,” A$AP Ferg’s “Big A$AP” and Trey Songz’s “All This Love.” The worldwide co-publishing deal covers Murdock’s full catalog and future releases, including upcoming collaborations with artists including H.E.R.

Emerging country singer-songwriter Brad Cox has signed a global publishing deal with Sony/ATV. Cox will be collaborating with the publisher’s creative teams in both Nashville and Australia, where he is based.

Cox’s popular tracks include “Rusty Strings,” “Give Me Tonight” and his recent single “Drinking Season,” which was co-written by Brad and Dan Isbell. He emerged on the scene with his 2018 self-titled debut album, which featured tracks including “Red Light,” “Too Drunk to Drive,” “Lake House” and “Water On The Ground.”

Jody Williams Songs has signed rising country singer-songwriter Jason Nix to a global co-publishing deal, with a full-publishing element, for all future releases. Nix was previously signed to Sony/ATV.

Run by former BMI vp of creative Jody Williams, Jody Williams Songs launched earlier this year in partnership with Warner Chappell Music Nashville.

Nix released his debut EP Money On You earlier this month. He is represented by Brian Hill at CAA.

Sony/ATV Nashville has signed singer-songwriter duo After Midtown to a global publishing deal.

Comprised of Adam Ernst and Michael Rotundo and described as having a “unique cross-genre sound,” After Midtown recently released their self-written debut single “Boys Like Us.” The duo – who are managed by a strategic partnership between The Core Entertainments’s Chief Zaruk and Simon Tikhman and 10th Street Entertainment’s Scott Frazier and Chris Nilsson –wrote on all tracks from their forthcoming EP.