Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment have agreed to end an 11-year joint venture that produced hit TV franchises including Got Talent and The X Factor, and acted as a pipeline of new talent signed to the major label group.
The pending uncoupling is part of buyback option initiated by Cowell, who will retain Sony Music’s share of the TV assets which he’ll then manage as part of a privately held company called Syco Entertainment. Sony Music will keep the JV’s music assets, namely Syco Music’s back catalog and roster of artists — which over the years has included One Direction, Camilla Cabello and Little Mix.
Cowell created X Factor in 2004 and Got Talent two years later. In between those launches, he sold his share of Syco Music and Syco Television to Sony Music Entertainment. The two parties launched their joint venture in 2009, with a key stipulation that gave Sony’s family of labels exclusive signing rights to artists featured on the Syco TV shows.
Other artists discovered through the TV brands and signed to various Sony labels include Leona Lewis, Fifth Harmony, Susan Boyle, Olly Murs, James Arthur and Cher Lloyd.
“At this particular contractual crossroads, it was simply the right thing for Simon to take control of his TV assets and propel his company in a new direction,” said Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony Music. “Sony Music has had incredible global success with so many artists that have been launched through Simon’s vision and innovation and we are proud to continue to represent the Syco music catalogue and its artists.”
In a statement, Cowell thanked Stringer and added that the label “always backed and supported me” in the creation of new franchises.
“The shows we created have found so many amazing artists over the years and so many of the various Sony labels all over the world have enabled so many of those artists to fulfill their dreams,” he said. “We have all shared some incredible achievements, and importantly we have had lots of fun.”
He added, “I won’t say this was an easy decision to make, however sometimes you have to personally support something you are so passionate about. I’ve always believed it’s important to take on new goals in order to drive new ideas and creativity so I’m very excited to be taking an independent and creatively-led Syco Entertainment into the future.”
According to the announcement, the Got Talent brand currently has 76 different versions around the globe, while X Factor is seen in more than 130 countries.
Further details of Cowell’s buyout of Syco’s TV assets from Sony were not disclosed.