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Publishing Briefs: Spirit Music Completes Equity Deal With B-Unique, ole Goes Worldwide With Timbaland

Ed Christman wraps-up all the big stories happening in the music publishing world.

Spirit Music Group has completed an undisclosed equity deal with British music publisher/label B-Unique, resulting in the creation of Spirit B-Unique. B-Unique founders Martin Toher and Mark Lewis, who have been named co-president of the new operation, will head up the company’s office in the U.K.

Described as a multi-faceted deal that will bolster Spirit’s creative presence in Europe, it brings a number of artists and songwriters into the Spirit portfolio, including James Bay, John Newman, Kodaline and Jonny Coffer, with songs such as as Rudimental‘s “Feel The Love” featuring John Newman; Kodaline’s “All I Want” and “The One”; Naughty Boy‘s “LA LA LA”; Olly Murs‘ “Heart Skips a Beat”; No Doubt‘s “Hey Baby”; Calvin Harris‘ “Blame” featuring John Newman; Last Shadow Puppets‘ “The Age of Understatement”; and Andrew McMahon‘s “Cecilia and the Satellite.” 


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“The U.K. is an incredibly important market in music and we’ve long viewed it as a key part of Spirit’s long-term global growth plan,” Spirit Music chairman David Renzer said in a statement. “Year in and year out, it produces some of the world’s greatest musical talents and opening a dedicated U.K. office positions Spirit to capitalize on the abundant creative opportunities that exist there. Our day-to-day operations are in great hands with Martin and Mark, who are two of the best creative executives in the business.” 

Toher said in a statement that B-Unique’s songwriters would benefit by Spirit’s “international reach, creative strength and administrative resources, [which] make them an incredible business partner and a huge asset for a songwriter.” Lewis noted the deal “brings together great catalogue, current hits, future stars and great people.”

According to the announcement, in addition to seeking new signings, the new entity will focus on maximizing opportunities for Spirit’s songwriters and the extensive catalog of copyrights it owns and administers in the U.K.

— Canadian music publishing firm ole has expanded its deal with Timbaland to a worldwide co-publishing agreement. Previously, Timbaland’s deal with ole had been for administration.

Timbaland and ole also have a joint venture together, ole-Bluestone, which was launched in 2013 to sign new songwriters such as Garland “Sebastian” Mosley, David Bratton, OK Mayday and Maurice “Velly” Conway.

“Timbaland has influenced and shaped an entire era of music and we welcome this expansion of our successful relationship,” ole chairman and CEO Robert Ott said in a statement. “From both a music and business vantage point, we look forward to growing with him. We will work to bring Timbaland’s music to an even wider audience while helping to develop the writers and artists he discovers via our ole-Bluestone venture.”

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— In another move, ole has signed a worldwide administration deal for more than 250 songs owned by by Francois Lachance, founder of the Prime Time Agency and multi-platform music company Raccoons by Night Music. The deal gives ole the exclusive right to administer music copyrights and digital audio-visual rights for tracks by Canadian artists Patrick Kordyback (lead singer of the band Stereos), songwriting and recording duo Midaz & Ellie and The Suits XL. As part of the deal, ole will also receive co-publishing rights to any new songs that are written or recorded because of their efforts.

“We look forward to working with the exciting artists on the Prime Time roster and the drive and entrepreneurial talent of Francois Lachance,” Ott said in a statement.

BMG has acquired outright the publishing and master rights for Katrina & the Waves‘ “Walking On Sunshine.” BMG EVP marketing & sync Patrick Joest praised the 1985 hit’s “ability to work across virtually every medium from film to TV and advertising — and in virtually any product category,” in a statement. He continued, “It is a song loved around the world, working across cultures and languages.” 

BMG says the move is typical of its strategy to represent both publishing and master rights for sync opportunities mined by its international sync team of 75 staffers.

SESAC has signed Green Day for representation in public performance licensing, calling the group an “an iconic band that has created important, diverse and unforgettable records.” SESAC chairman and CEO John Josephson said in a statement, “Billie Joe [Armstrong], Mike [Dirnt] and Tre [Cool] are phenomenal songwriters and musicians whose influence on the musical landscape is immeasurable.

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— In other moves, SESAC also brought songwriters Kesha, Shawn Stockman and the current Thin Lizzy line-up to its roster of nearly 40,000 songwriters. Josephson said the signings represent a priority “to expand SESAC’s stellar roster of creators.”

Reverb Music, the London office of Reservoir Media Management, has signed British artist/songwriter Lucy Rose to an exclusive worldwide publishing deal. The deal, helmed by Reverb Music head of creative Charlie Pinder, includes Rose’s Work It Out album — which was released in July and hit No. 9 on the The Official U.K. Albums Chart — as well as future titles.

Pinder said he followed Rose’s career for years before signing her, saying in a statement, “I couldn’t believe that Lucy wasn’t signed to a publisher, because in ‘Work It Out’ she’s made a stunning, unique album. I don’t think everyone realizes — yet — how good she really is.” 

— In another deal Reservoir has signed Dublin-based EDM group Le Galaxie to a publishing deal. The band recently released an album, “Le Club,” in May. Through the deal, priorities will include pursuing collaboration and sync placement opportunities.
Reservoir director of licensing & creative Andy Moerschell noted the band’s “riveting” live show, saying in a statement, “I was not prepared for how incredible Le Galaxie would be live. The energy of their songs and stage presence is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and the fact that they’re able to recreate that feeling on a recording like Le Club cements what a special act this is.” 

Round Hill has signed songwriter and producer Adam Deitch to a worldwide administration deal. Deitch has produced tracks for hip-hop legends, including Talib Kweli, 50 Cent and Pharoahe Monch, and is launching a new label called Golden Wolf Records this year. In a separate deal, Deitch and Boram Lee have signed to Round Hill for a worldwide administration deal as part of their Break Science persona.

Kobalt Music Publishing has signed Australian indie band Sheppard to a worldwide agreement. The band is slated to go into the studio to record its second album. The band’s “Geronimo” from its debut album, Bomb Away, has scanned 3 million units, according to the announcement.