Kobalt wings to publishing deal

Company to oversee Paul McCartney publisher MPL

Independent publisher Kobalt Music Group has signed an exclusive long-term deal to administer Paul McCartney’s pubbery MPL outside North America and the U.K.

Deal, which took effect July 1, will see Kobalt administering songs and providing synch licensing for three MPL catalogs: MPL Communications, MPL Music Publishing and Cherio Corp. Deal covers international territories outside the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and Eire territories, where MPL’s catalogs are self-operated.

MPL copyrights were previously administered in the international territories by EMI Music Publishing, which was acquired for $2.2 billion late last month by a investor consortium headed by Sony/ATV Music (Variety, July 2).

MPL Communications includes all of McCartney’s post-Beatles solo material, songs by McCartney & Wings and works by the late Linda McCartney. Tunes include “Jet,” “My Love,” “Band on the Run,” “Ebony and Ivory” and “Say Say Say.”

MPL Music Publishing and Cherio comprise a host of standards penned by such cleffers as Frank Loesser, Carl Perkins, Harry Warren, Jule Styne, Louis Jordan, Roy Orbison, Hoagy Carmichael and Loudon Wainwright III.

Compositions include numbers from such Broadway tuners as “Guys and Dolls,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “The Music Man,” plus pop and rock ‘n’ roll standards such as “Unchained Melody,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Sentimental Journey,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Honey Don’t” and “Stay.”

Kobalt administers more than 200,000 copyrights worldwide on behalf of 1,200 content holders. Its client roster includes Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Kelly Clarkson, No Doubt, Lionel Richie, Tiesto, Skrillex, Bon Iver, Gotye, Big and Rich and LMFAO. The growing firm boasts a recently acquired digital distribution arm and an international royalty collection division.

Kobalt founder-CEO Willard Ahdritz told Variety, “We have created a new model for the industry, where we bring service that in our opinion is very unique and different, and (MPL) wanted to go to the new model. They believe that we can get a new start, both from a creative synch point of view, but also in global administration outside the U.S. and the U.K.”

Ahdritz declined comment on terms of the pact or the revenue it could generate. “MPL is one of the biggest privately owned music publishing companies in the world. … It’s Paul McCartney. That says it all.”

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