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EMI acquires Windswept

Pact one of biz's largest

EMI Music Publishing has ponied up nearly $200 million for more than 40,000 copyrights held by Windswept Pacific, including “Louie Louie,” “Mony Mony,” “Hot Legs” and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”

The deal, which had been expected (Daily Variety, July 2) ranks as one of the industry’s largest.

It also significantly adds to the more than 1 million copyrights held by behemoth EMI, which aggressively pursued the indie publisher.

EMI is not acquiring the Windswept Pacific name, and the company will continue as an indie music publishing company.

In addition to many top tracks from the ’50s and ’60s, such as “Barbara Ann” and “The Twist,” Windswept also owns recent hits like the Spice Girls’ “Wanna Be.”

Windswept Pacific’s catalog earns millions annually from use of the songs by advertisers in TV spots, as well as by film and TV producers, with the ’50s and ’60s nuggets appealing to marketers and entertainment companies targeting baby boomers.

“Adding these enormously popular songs to EMI’s catalog will further strengthen our position as the world’s leading music publisher,” said chairman and CEO Martin Bandier, who said the catalog “represents a massive consolidation of classic rock ‘n’ roll hits from the ’50s and ’60s.”

The addition of Windswept tunes and EMI’s recent $150 million deal for half of Jobete Music, the publisher of many of the Motown-era hits, practically gives EMI a lock on the music of that era.

EMI topped offers from several suitors, including fellow titan Warner Chappell Music, to nab the catalog from its Japanese owners Fujisankei, who put the Windswept catalog on the block earlier this year (Daily Variety, March 3).

Windswept will also retain most of its agreements with its songwriters, including Gregg Allman and Pete Townshend, and its joint-venture Hit Co.

Windswept Pacific bowed in 1988 with an initial investment of $25 million. Through an aggressive copyright acquisition strategy, it has grown to become one of the world’s largest indie music publishers.

The catalog also includes “Sweet Home Alabama,” “On the Road Again,” “That’s the Way I Like It” and “Oye Coma Va,” the latter of which earns $500,000 a year in licensing fees.