The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian Sells His Share of Hits to AMR Songs
The music asset investment firm has been quietly buying rights for two years, with a catalog numbering 1,500 songs and growing.
John Sebastian‘s songwriter interest in The Lovin’ Spoonful catalog has been acquired by AMR Songs, a music asset investment firm and music company that’s been quietly scooping up rights for the last two years. AMR also purchased all rights from Sebastian’s solo catalog, as well as the master recording catalog of reggae band SOJA, among other investments.
Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
AMR is led by former Billboard editorial director Tamara Conniff, the firm’s founder and CEO, and private equity veteran Steve Reinstadtler, who is CFO. According to sources, the firm has raised $100 million from institutional investors. In addition to acquiring all forms of music royalties, AMR will also sign developing songwriters and work closely with established writers.
The Sebastian deal includes the writer share of his Lovin’ Spoonful catalog, including “Summer in the City,” “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Daydream,” “Younger Girl,” “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” and “Nashville Cats.” It also encompasses the publishing and writer share from his solo career, including the song “Welcome Back,” as well as artist royalties from his band and solo work.
“AMR’s involvement in my catalog, and specifically the enthusiasm I’m feeling from Tamara Conniff about this material, will ensure that my songs will keep singing for a good long time,” Sebastian said in a statement.
Conniff has more than 20 years of experience in music publishing. She began by managing the interests of her late father, band leader Ray Conniff, and has also held executive positions in music publishing, including as executive vp of Roc Nation Music Publishing and COO of Artist Publishing Group. Reinstadtler’s prior experience includes serving as co-head of TD Capital and as a partner in SR Capital Advisors.
“I’m ecstatic to announce the launch of AMR Songs and fully realize our vision of building a truly creative home for our artists and writers — not just acquiring rights, but proactively nurturing and marketing catalogs, signing and developing artists with frontline operations,” Conniff said in a statement. “We’ve established a stellar film and TV sync licensing team, label distribution and digital marketing support to uniquely foster new opportunities and revenue growth for our roster and catalogs.”
AMR’s team also includes Lydia Yerrick, vp of business affairs and administration, and Justin Mandel, manager of social media and royalty analysis, as well various consultants. Additional staff will be announced soon, the company said.
The AMR catalog, which numbers 1,500 songs and growing, is administered by Warner Chappell Music.
AMR’s investment in SOJA’s catalog spans from the band’s inception through 2020 and covers music publishing, artist royalties and various master recordings, including the albums Born In Babylon, Strength to Survive and Amid the Noise and Haste.
“We’re passionate about the music and incredibly proud to represent and take care of these amazing works, ensuring they are exposed to new audiences for generations to come,” Conniff adds in a statement.
Other investments include the writer share of funk guitarist Ronald “Kat” Spearman’s song catalog, including Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away”; John Boylan’s producer share, which includes the first Boston album; and the publishing rights of Taylor Philips — namely Luke Combs‘ “Hurricane” and Kane Brown’s “Homesick.”
Beyond that, AMR has signed a global music publishing deal with producer and writer Erik Janson. It is also launching its own label, AMR Songs, and has signed Australian artist EJ Worland to both a recording and publishing deal.
Conniff notes that AMR is “agnostic about which rights we will buy” going forward, adding that the company has an eye on niche genres because each has its own ecosystem and brand of dedicated fans. “Reggae, rock, Christian and jazz fans are not fickle,” she says.