Today in Music: BMG keeps rebuilding publishing empire with Fuji deal

Bertelsmann’s BMG Music Rights has continued to expand by agreeing to a deal to manage the song catalogs of Fuji John Lee HookerEntertainment America’s ARC Music, Six Palms Music and Third Story catalogs in a worldwide deal everywhere outside of Japan and South East Asia.

While this isn’t quite as committed a deal as buying a company’s catalog,  it’s still an important way to continue to gain influence and power in the music publishing business. The German media company returned to  music publishing in 2007  after a brief absence following the sale of  its song publishing company to Universal Music Group  in 2006.

Since being founded, BMG Music Rights has built up its catalog to more than 200,000 songs and recordings following acquisitions of catalogs like Crosstown Songs, Cherry Lane Music Publishing and Stage Three Music.

The joint venture company (between Bertelsmann and private equity firm KKR) is now seen as the likely buyer of EMI’s rich catalog of songs whenever, if ever, its owner Terra Firma finally puts EMI’s assets on the block.

ARC Music’s catalog includes works by blues and rock ‘n’ roll legends like Chuck Berry (“Johnny B. Goode”), Bo Diddley “Who Do You Love”, Howlin’ Wolf (“Smokestack Lightning”) and John Lee Hooker (“Boom Boom”), pictured left.

Today in Music: Warner signs new publishing chief; EMI signs Pink Floyd – again

Warner Music signs publishing exec behind Cee Lo’s “F*** You”

Warner Music  Group has signed up a new publishing chief Cameron Strang as CEO of Warner/Chappell Music, its music publishing unit.  The world’s No.3 music company said David Johnson, who previously held the joint title of chairman/CEO of Warner/Chappell, will continue as chairman until July at which point Strang will take on the  additional role of chairman as well.

CeeLo2Johnson, who was previously the company’s general counsel, has led Warner/Chappell since 2006.

Strang, 44, founded  New West Records and Southside Independent Music Publishing in 1995. As part of deal Warner/Chappell has acquired Strang’s Southside whose songs include 2010 hits like B.oB.’s Nothin’ on You and Cee Lo Green’s “F*** You” (pictured left) both nominated for Record of Year 2011.

EMI promotes publishing guy to oversee Capitol and Virgin labels in US


(Clarifies earlier post to show McCarroll is not replacing Melrose/Brooks)

EMI, the smallest and most troubled of the four major music companies, took its latest step towards re-focusing under new leader Roger Faxon by appointing the current head of North American creative at EMI Music Publishing  as president of   the Capitol and Virgin label group in North America.

McCarroll is credited with signing artists like John Mellencamp (pictured, right), Death Cab for Cutie, Panic At The Disco and songwriters like Toby Gad who wrote Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “If I Were a Boy” for Beyonce.  Former A&R executives Steven Melrose and Leonard Brooks are leaving the company while EMI Music Publishing’s A&R team will continue to be led by president of North American Creative Jon Platt.

It’s not often that music publishing executives move over to recorded music. In fact, despite the steady revenues and profits from publishing even as CD sales tumble, publishing departments are often treated by label colleagues like a poor stepchild. But as we all know times have changed. Regular revenues and profits will get you a lot of leverage these days at a music company. Through all the trauma of EMI’s restructuring, sale and legal battles, EMI Music Publishing has managed to be a relatively steady ship.  In the United States EMI Publishing manages songs and repertoire for artists including Beyonce, Fergie, Jay-Z, Norah Jones, Pink and Kanye West.

EMI Publishing has a dream: diversified revenues with MLK

EMI Publishing, the song publishing arm of EMI Music, has struck an interesting deal with the estate of Dr Martin Luther King Jr to manage the licensing of his words and speeches in recordings and music.

It’s an unusual deal for EMI Publishing, which is best known for managing iconic songs like ‘New York New York’ and ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ or the songwriting talents of the Arctic Monkeys and Beyonce. This is the first time the company has ever handled speeches and sermons, or in fact any non-song-based intellectual property, according to a spokesman.

Another interesting feature of the deal is that the unit will also handle the online image rights of Dr King. So if, for example, you’re building a website about the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement and you need to use King’s likeness, you might not have to call Getty Images but EMI Publishing.