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New Alliance tune

Starts arm to lend against future income

MONTREAL — Canadian film and TV producer Alliance Communications Corp. is increasing its presence in the music-publishing sector via the creation of the Alliance Music Royalty Fund, a new division that will lend money to songwriters and publishers based on expected future earnings from songwriting royalties.

The Alliance announcement is the latest example of a growing trend in the entertainment biz, with firms fronting money to writers and producers against future earnings from royalties. Earlier this week, RZO Cos. and Prudential Investments announced they were joining forces to create Entertainment Finance Intl., which will lend money based on expected future royalties (Daily Variety, April 16).

The Alliance Music Royalty Fund will operate as a subdivision of Equicap Financial Corp., Alliance’s film-financing company, and Equicap president Jeff Rayman announced that Laurence (Corky) Laing has been named executive vice president of the new entity.

Laing has spent over a decade in the executive ranks of the record industry, including stints as department director for Chappell Music Publishing Co. in New York and VP of artists & repertoire at Polygram Music Group in Canada. The Montreal-born musician began his career as the drummer in 1960s hard-rock power trio Mountain, and he has taken part in various Mountain reunion tours over the years.

Only winners need apply

Alliance is interested in signing up songwriters with long track records and catalogs that are already generating steady annual income for the writers and their publishing companies. Alliance will give the writers money upfront annually in return for collecting the writers’ royalties. The company will then hand over all the royalties, minus the Alliance fee, at the end of the year.

“It’s for people who want the money today,” said Rayman. “We’ve already had 50 calls from well-known artists. They have cash demands that are greater than their cash flow.”

Laing’s position will involve snagging customers for the Alliance division, and Laing was a natural choice for the job of developing relationships with the songwriters and publishers, said Rayman.

“He knows the music industry,” said Rayman. “He knows all the players and he has a global perspective. People know him, and he knows people.”

Alliance’s only other significant music-business holding is TMP — The Music Publisher, a Toronto-based publishing com-pany 75% owned by Alliance. TMP has a library of 3,500 music titles.

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