BMG acquires Nina Simone, Johnny Cash and John Coltrane copyrights

BMG has fully acquired New York independent Verse Music Group for an undisclosed fee, including publishing and recordings copyrights from the likes of Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane and Bing Crosby.

Perhaps the best-known copyright now owned by BMG as a result of the deal is the publishing to Simone’s classic My Baby Just Cares For Me.

Verse, formed in 2010, owns rights to around 40,000 songs and recordings including:

  • Salsoul Records, the legendary funk and dance label behind the first ever commercial 12“ single (Double Exposure’s ‘10%’) and Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’ (most famously featured in Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time’) together with its Latin offsheet Salsoul Lejendas featuring the 175m-album-selling Camilo Sesto;
  • The Bethlehem Music catalog of classic jazz including works by Nina Simone (‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’), Duke Ellington, Mel Torme and John Coltrane;
  • Golden Records, the first children’s record label in the US with artists ranging from Danny Kaye to Roy Rodgers, Bing Crosby to Johnny Cash;
  • West End Records, the influential label led by Paradise Garage founder Mel Cheren behind seminal tracks such as Taana Gardner’s ‘Heartbeat’ and the worldwide hit ‘Here Comes The Hotstepper’ by Ini Kamoze;
  • Successful catalogs from the likes of long-time Rod Stewart collaborator Kevin Savigar, Grammy Award-winning Franne Golde and the much-sampled Linda Laurie & Camex catalogue.

Verse Music Group was founded by award-winning songwriter/producers Curt Frasca and Sabelle Breer, who have worked with artists including Madonna, Avril Lavigne, Missy Higgins and Celine Dion.

Laurent Hubert, President Creative & Marketing of BMG Chrysalis US, said, “Verse has assembled an extremely varied and wide-ranging catalog which touches many of the most influential moments in popular music history.

“There are considerable synergies with existing BMG catalogues which make this acquisition particularly exciting.“

Since ‘going independent’ in 2008 after splitting with Sony, BMG has acquired a roll-call of some of music publishing’s most notable catalogues including Bug, Cherry Lane, Stage Three, Chrysalis, Primary Wave, Virgin Music and Talpa.

It is now comfortably the fourth biggest music publisher in the world.

Meanwhile, in recordings BMG has built a portfolio which includes classic catalogues from Sanctuary, Mute, Dreyfus and Skint/Loaded as well as renowned indies like Infectious, Union Square, Vagrant and most recently, Rise Records.Music Business Worldwide

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