Spirit acquires Pete Townshend catalog

The Who bandleader signs with indie publisher

New York-based indie publisher Spirit Music has acquired Pete Townshend’s interest in his song catalog, which includes many of the Who’s hits and his solo work.

Townshend has additionally signed a multi-year consultancy agreement with Spirit covering traditional catalog promotion and multi-media licensing to strategic brand partnerships and the development of musical stage shows and installations exploiting the Townshend and Who brands.

Spirit has embarked on similar partnership deals in recent years with such acts as Lou Reed, T. Rex and Chaka Khan.

Deal also includes a long-term publishing agreement for Townshend’s future work, including new songs for potential solo releases and the Who. Pact also covers “Floss,” a forthcoming musical dramatic project by Townshend.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Townshend is lead guitarist and principal songwriter for the Who, which he co-founded in England in 1964. His writing catalog includes the ground-breaking rock operas “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia,” plus such classic-rock radio staples as “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Pinball Wizard” and “Baba O’Reilly.”

The Who’s catalog is an evergreen staple of Universal Music Group’s holdings; last year the company released an elaborate boxed set, “Quadrophenia: The Director’s Cut,” featuring an expanded version of the 1973 album. Townshend’s solo releases, many of them conceptual in nature, include “Who Came First,” “Empty Glass,” “White City” and “Psychoderelict.”

Spirit CEO Fried said in a statement, “The songs of Pete Townshend are the soundtrack of our lives. They’ve been a mirror to decades of cultural growth and change, challenging our sensibilities, inspiring engagement and forever redefining rock and roll song craft and musicianship. We’re thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to work closely with Pete in the caretaking and promotion of his life’s work, and to help inspire his future successes.”

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