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Publishing Briefs: Imagem Music Signs Admin Deal With PRMD Publishing (Exclusive), Warner Chappell Music Teams With Mike Dean

Billboard's Ed Christman rounds-up all the big news in the music publishing world.

Imagem Music has just signed a global administration deal with PRMD Publishing, the company formed by EDM impressario Ash Pournouri. As part of the deal, Imagem will now represent the publishing catalog of Cazzette, and any future signings made by PRMD (pronounced “pyramid”). 

PRMD plans to sign and nurture talent as well as seek-out established writers interested in joining PRMD and At Night, the management company formed by Pournouri, who also has a label named PRMD.


The alliance will focus on all genres of music including the dance and electronic music writers and producers from PRMD’s roster, according to the announcement.

“I am pleased to welcome PRMD to the Imagem family,” Imagem Music U.S. president Jason Jordan said in a statement. “The company is culturally well-rounded, levelheaded and extremely innovative and I’m excited for the future of our joint venture which will take both Imagem and PRMD to great heights.”

PRMD Publishing CEO Kristina Tunkrans Lidehorn added in a statement, “PRMD are excited to have found a publishing partner that matches the entrepreneurial and hardworking spirit of PRMD. We have high hopes for this collaboration and look forward to a creative and innovative way of working on a worldwide basis with our writers and catalog.”

— Warner Chappell Music has signed a global administration deal to handle hip-hop producer Mike Dean’s catalog and future songwriting.


“Few producers have the talent to sustain a career as long, diverse and prolific as Mike’s,” Warner/Chappell North America president Jon Platt said in a statement. “From 2Pac to Kanye and everyone in between, Mike has helped great artists define new sounds. He’s always innovating, not only within hip hop, but across pop music in general. We’re thrilled to be on his team.”

Besides 2Pac and West, Dean has also produced tracks or written for Beyoncé, Jay-Z, E-40, and Kid Cudi, Scarface, Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, Tech N9ne, and Devin the Dude, among others.

Dean added in a statement, “I am excited to work with Warner/Chappell and Big Jon on expanding my musical palate, and be able to continue to innovate and push music forward.”

In music publishing executive news, Neil Gaffney has been appointed senior VP of international affairs at ASCAP, and will report directly to ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento. Gaffney will be responsible for maintaining strong relationships with performing rights societies around the world.

In the past Gaffney, who has 25 years of experience in the publishing industry, held high-level management positions at EMI Music Publishing, including serving as EMI’s executive VP of global services & European society relations. More recently, he had his own company, Right Thinking Solutions, where he provided services such as strategic-analysis, digital rights management, tracking and revenue recovery, business process re-engineering, business administration, and change management to a number of publisher and collection society clients. Gaffney studied law at Birkbeck, University of London, specializing in contract and international law.

“Neil Gaffney has a deep understanding of the complex issues in global music rights licensing, digital rights management, tracking and building revenues,” LoFrumento said in a statement. “He is a well-respected and very effective executive who will lead ASCAP’s international efforts during a time of tremendous change and opportunity. We’re excited to have him as part of our management team.””

He will take over the responsibilities of ASCAP executive VP of international Roger Greenaway, who announced he will retire at the end of 2014. “Neil brings a wealth of international experience and high level relationships to ASCAP, having been at the center of several initiatives in managing and protecting copyrights globally,” Greenaway said in a statement.

For his part, Gaffney said in a statement, “I have always admired ASCAP’s work on the forefront of so many of the important developments to protect and promote the music of its members in every corner of the world…I look forward to helping to make a real, positive difference especially for the songwriters, composers and publishers that ASCAP represents.”

In another executive move, Les Wakins, who has been senior VP of business affairs and business development at Music Reports Inc., has left the company. In his 10 years there, Watkins helped spearhead MRI’s transformation from a company that tracked and made royalty payments for local television stations into a leading supplier for processing music publishing royalty payments and licensing for some of the largest digital music services.

During his tenure with the company he was instrumental in establishing and implementing adjustable fee blanket licenses for DMX and Sirius XM, among other accomplishments. Prior to joining MRI, Watkins had been an associate/contract attorney with Lenard, Brisbin, & Klotz; King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner LLP; and the Law Office of Lisa Socransky. From 1996-2001, Wakins worked for Sony Music Entertainment, holding a number of positions culminating in VP of business affairs for 550 Digital Media Ventures. Watkins  graduated from the Universaisty of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law; he can be reached at leswatkins2013@gmail.com.

— Big Deal Music has re-signed Dan Wilson, lead singer for Semisonic, to its joint venture deal with BMG Chrysalis. As a result of the deal, Big Deal will now represent the Semisonic back catalog and future new Wilson songs.

As a songwriter and producer, Wilson has worked with a diverse group of artists including Adele, Dixie Chicks, John Legend, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Taylor Swift, Jim James, Pink, Dierks Bentley, Nas, Josh Groban, Weezer, Carole King, and many others. 

“Dan is clearly one of my favorite songwriters, and just happens to be one of my favorite people as well,” Big Deal’s Kenny MacPherson said in a statement. “It’s great to be able to resume this relationship that’s now lasted nearly 20 years.”

BMG Chrysalis North America president of creative and marketing Laurent Hubert said in a statement, “Dan has the rare ability to touch music fans worldwide with his powerful, timeless songs.  We are ecstatic about continuing the journey with Dan as he joins the BMG/Big Deal family.”

Under the Big Deal Music / BMG publishing joint venture, the two companies sign talent jointly and BMG provides global administration and pro-active exploitation services to the Big Deal Music catalog in North America, Germany, U.K., Scandinavia, France, Benelux, Spain & Italy.

Round Hill Music has signed the Moxies, a developing act that draws upon rockabilly and garage , to a publishing deal. The band is currently in the studio writing with Round Hill roster-mate Marti Frederiksen

According to the announcement, draws on classic influences from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Etta James, to modern artists such as their hero Jack White, Cold War Kids, Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant

Round Hill Music Nashville director of A&R Kari Smith said in a statement the Moxies will add excitement to the Nashville roster. “They have everything you could ask for in a band,” Smith said. “They’re fresh, energetic and undeniably unique.”

Sony/ATV Music Publishing has signed on to represent today songwriter and producer Kevin Kadish in a worldwide deal that includes the global hit, “All About That Bass,” which he co-wrote with artist Meghan Trainor.

“We’re really excited at Sony/ATV to have Kevin Kadish as an exclusive songwriter,” Sony/ATV chairman and CEO Martin Bandier said in a statement. “‘All About That Bass’ is clearly one of the biggest songs of the year and we know there is a lot more to come from him.”

Trainor’s debut single has scanned 2.9 million downloads in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. In addition to co-writing the song, Kadish programmed the drums and bass, played guitar and produced it. 

Kadish has also co-penned and produced Trainor’s next single “Lips Are Movin,'” and has eight co-writes lined up on her debut album, which is expected to be released by Epic Records later this year.

“We…look forward to working with [Kadish] as a key player on the Sony/ATV roster,” Sony/ATV co-president Danny Strick said in a statement. “The international success of ‘All About That Bass’ is a testament to his abilities as a writer and producer. We are looking forward to seeking new collaborative opportunities for him across the globe.”

Besides Trainor, Kadish has worked with Miley Cyrus, American Idol winners Kris Allen and Taylor Hicks, Jason Mraz, Meat Loaf, Willie Nelson, former Journey frontman Steve Perry and Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, among others. “I’m excited to start this new chapter in my career with Sony/ATV,” Kadish said in a statement. “From their amazing creative staff, to their thorough collections, I think they’re the perfect fit for me.”