Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has signed an exclusive publishing deal with one of the most essential American songwriters of all time, Irving Berlin, to represent his catalog in all territories worldwide. This expands upon the major’s existing partnership with the Berlin estate, which began in 2012, which named UMPG as Berlin’s publishing administrator outside of the U.S.
Previously, Concord and Imagem (which the former purchased in 2017) handled North American publishing administration, but under the new deal, UMPG will now cover the continent instead.
Additionally, UMPG will take over duties for brand and social marketing efforts for the Berlin estate. This includes the launch of social media channels, including a new TikTok page, which promote the legacy of the songwriter and his legendary songbook — which includes “Anything You Can Do,” “Blue Skies,” “Cheek To Cheek,” “How Deep Is The Ocean,” “It’s A Lovely Day Today,” “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” “Let’s Face The Music And Dance,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On),” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” Guinness World Records’ longtime best-selling single “White Christmas,” and many more — to the next generation of fans.
The company also launched a custom Film & TV industry site which will showcase Berlin’s catalog for sync and theatrical licensing consideration. It uses themed playlists, intuitive tagging and more to help potential licensors find the perfect match within his over 1,500 song catalog.
During his lifetime, publishing administration for Berlin, who was highly protective of his copyrights, was handled by an insular group of six individuals, working in an office on West 46th Street in Manhattan, as the New York Times reported, but in 1990, following his death at the age of 101, Berlin’s publishing administration went to the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization (RHO) for further exploitation. Nearly two decades later, RHO sold to Imagem in 2009. By 2012, rights to worldwide administration ex-U.S. was given to UMPG while the North American administration was re-signed with Imagem and expanded to include brand management and grand rights exploitation globally. Then, in 2017, there was a major sale between Imagem and Concord Music Group, moving over these duties to the Concord umbrella.
Evan Lamberg, president of North America, UMPG, says of the deal, “I’ve been in the music publishing business my entire working life. It doesn’t get any better than UMPG having the honor of representing the timeless cultural songs of Irving Berlin, as well as working with the wonderful Irving Berlin family and Estate.”
“The family of Irving Berlin enthusiastically welcomes the expansion of their 10 year relationship with Universal Music Publishing Group and looks forward to continued collaboration as the exclusive global music publisher for Irving Berlin’s extensive catalog,” adds Mary G. Campbell of JPMorgan, on behalf of the Berlin’s estate.