BMG Rights Management France (BMG) has acquired music publishing business FKO Music (FKO) – including all songs by Nigerian legend Fela Kuti.
Under the deal, FKO founder Fela Kertekian and BMG will work together on the development of future signings through a co-pub agreement with Kertekian’s new company FKGC. Kertekian will also remain closely involved in the exploitation and promotion of the FKO catalogue.
Founded in 1991 by Francis Kertekian, FKO’s catalogue notably contains:
– All songs by Nigerian Afro-beat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti spanning his career from the 1970s until 1997
– Songs by 2012 Grammy nominated artist Femi Kuti
– Songs by French electro/rock/world act Rachid Taha (of Steve Hillage and Brian Eno collaboration fame)
– Songs by acclaimed French act Les Têtes Raides
– Interest in the Yaba Music catalog which includes Mory Kante’s 1987 classic world/pop hit ‘Yeke Yeke’
Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a Nigerian artist who passed away in 1997, is considered the “Godfather” and the “Black President” of African funk. His output, consisting in some 40 albums, is famous worldwide including the US, UK, Europe and Japan.
Fela Kuti’s tracks have been sampled by several US and UK urban and dance artists, including Missy Elliot, The Roots, Nas, Alicia Keys, Fat Boy Slim and Mos Def. His material has also been covered by US artists such as D’Angelo, Macy Gray and Me’Shell NdegéOcello.
Meanwhile, a musical called “Fela!” about Fela Kuti’s life, using his songs, has been a massive success on Broadway since the beginning of 2010 and received 11 Tony nominations including Best Musical.
“I am proud that BMG has now become the recipient of the FKO catalog” comments Stéphane Berlow, Managing Director of BMG France.
“Fela Kuti is one of the most iconic artists there’s ever been, his infectious beats are universal but above all, his message lives on. The catalog that Francis Kertekian has put together over the years is full of successful music with a twist, always interesting and different.
“To continue developing the exploitation of this catalog and to contribute to expanding it further through BMG France’s set up and BMG’s network of companies internationally is a fascinating project. And working with Francis on the FKO catalog and FKGC’s new signings will be both a pleasure and an honor.”
“This deal is a major step towards the kind of impetus that I was looking for, for my catalogue,” added Francis Kertekian. “The agreement with BMG will enable me to continue supporting with a new momentum all the artists that have been entrusting me for all these years. At the same time, it was essential for me that the acquisition by BMG had to go hand in hand with the development of a new venture for future signings. I am pleased of Stéphane’s enthusiasm and commitment to these projects and I look forward very much to our collaboration”Music Business Worldwide