With SONGS Music Publishing sold to Kobalt today, Ron Perry, minority owner and president, is on his way to head up Columbia Records.
Sources say Perry was already the front-runner for the job, with a signed deal to helm the storied label to happen contingent upon SONGS being sold. With that now official, Perry will take the helm of Columbia beginning Jan. 2.
According to sources, the SONGS auction, which was expecting initial bids in the $160 million range, had 14 bids in the first round, and about half of them advanced to the second round. SONGS was founded by Matt Pincus in 2004, and Perry has been working for the company since its inception.
While Columbia chairman and CEO Rob Stringer replaced Doug Morris as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment in April, he has also since been serving double duty, shepherding Columbia as he interviewed candidates to replace himself.
Before Perry emerged as the likely replacement for Stringer at Columbia, he was also rumored to be in the running to head up Warner Bros. Records, before that company decided to name Aaron Bay-Schuck as co-chairman/CEO and Tom Corson as co-chairman/COO.
Perry, who leads A&R efforts at SONGS, has a reputation of being able to win over top artists. The SONGS songwriter roster boasts such hit writers as Diplo, The Weeknd and Lorde, among others, and the company has emerged as a perennial in the Billboard Top 10 quarterly publisher rankings for the top 100 radio songs.
Sony Music Entertainment declined to comment.