Martin Bandier will be looking to use a combination of acquisitions and new artists to grow Sony/ATV Music Publishing in a manner similar to the way he built EMI into the world’s largest music publishing operation.
“Growing a business is one of the things I like to do,” Bandier told Daily Variety shortly after confirming that he will take over Sony/ATV Music Publishing on April 1. “There will be catalogs becoming available, writer catalogs coming onstream due to new tax legislation that makes selling beneficial, and we’ll be building by signing new and established artists.”
Bandier has signed a long-term deal to become chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing the day he gives up his similar title at EMI. He also has made an investment in the company, which is known as the home of the Beatles copyrights along with songs by Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Babyface, John Mellencamp and Beck.
Company is co-owned by Sony and Michael Jackson, who was floated a loan last year by Sony Corp. so he could hold onto his half.
Bandier will oversee Sony/ATV’s global music publishing activities — including talent and copyright acquisitions — and will develop and implement broad new strategic initiatives.
Bandier will report to Rob Wiesenthal, the chief financial officer of Sony Corp. of America and executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Sony Entertainment; and Howard Stringer, in his role as chairman and CEO of Sony Corp. of America.
“There is so much possibility because Sony/ATV is both independent and has a rich stable of artists,” Wiesenthal said. “We see what is happening with the value of copyrights in licensing and digital, and it is important to have someone like Marty onboard.”
The company is small enough — it ranks fourth among music publishers — and not indebted to shareholders, which will allow Bandier to make moves that create long-term value, Wiesenthal said. Music publishing, in the age of digital uses and mobile phones, has been a significant growth area in the music business.
“There is growth in licensing to motion pictures and television, synch uses in commercials and performance revenue around the world. Virtually everything has a theme song today,” Bandier said. “And the method of collection has become more scientific and effective.”
Bandier will replace Sony/ATV CEO David Hockman, who has been running the company since Sony BMG created a joint venture and the music publishing company was placed under Sony Corp. of America. Wiesenthal said he and Bandier will discuss options for Hockman to keep him at the company.
In 1989, Bandier became chairman and CEO of EMI Music Publishing after a merger between SBK, a company he founded, and Thorn EMI. At the time, EMI was the fourth-largest player in the industry. He announced in October his intention to leave the company on April 1. Since then, he also had discussions with Warner Chappell and considered going into business for himself.