Indie music publisher goes for $150 mln in latest deal

Indie music publisher goes for $150 mln in latest deal

NEW YORK – Agence France-Presse
Indie music publisher goes for $150 mln in latest deal

Songs Music Publishing, which holds copyrights to music by stars such as Lorde and Pharrell Williams, announced its sale on Dec. 8 in the latest consolidation in the fast-growing industry.

The leading independent music publisher said it had agreed after months of bidding to sell its catalog to Kobalt, which already administers songs by legends such as Miles Davis and Bob Marley.

The two companies did not announce financial terms but a person with knowledge of the deal said it was worth around $150 million.
Songs was formed in 2004 and has emerged as a competitor to the major publishers - Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell.

It controls recent mega-hits such as Lorde’s “Royals,” The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk.”

“Songs is a truly independent company - 100 percent owned and operated by us since its inception,” Songs founder and CEO Matt Pincus said in a statement.

“After many years of hard work and personal investment in the company, we decided that it was time for us to look for new horizons,” he said.

Music publishers hold copyrights and distribute royalties back to songwriters when their work is played. Performers are compensated separately.

With the rise of streaming providing solid new revenue sources, the value of song copyrights has been soaring -- even if songwriters do not always see as much of the money as they would like.

Royalties for writers of music, television, film and other content jumped to a record 9.2 million euros ($10.9 million) last year, according to creators’ global body CISAC.

Eying the growing market, Kobalt last month announced it had raised $600 million to buy music copyright through investors led by Railpen, the pension fund for Britain’s railway workers.

Kobalt has grown through a unique model in which it mostly administers copyrights without fully owning them, letting artists keep control.
The deal comes near the end of a year in which Concord Bicycle Music spent a reported $500 million to buy Imagem, which controls rights for leading Broadway and classical composers, and Round Hill bought Carlin America, the publisher of Elvis Presley.