The company administers and/or owns evergreen music catalogs including those made famous by The Beatles, Queen, Motown, Carole King, Leiber & Stoller, Leonard Cohen, Stevie Wonder, Claudia Brant, and Michael Jackson.
Its modern-day roster of songwriters include Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Cardi B, Daddy Yankee, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna, amongst many others.
Sony Music Publishing: Origins
The beginnings of Sony Music Publishing, formerly Sony/ATV Music Publishing, date back to 1966. That was when UK television company Associated Television (ATV), already active in recorded music rights, acquired two publishing companies: New World Music and Jubilee Music, which were both subsidiaries of Chappell & Co.
Importantly, three years later in 1969, ATV acquired Northern Songs, home to the majority of Beatles songs ever written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And it was on the bedrock of this huge music catalog that Sony Music Publishing was built.
Sony Music Publishing: Transformation into Sony/ATV
In 1985, Michael Jackson acquired the ATV music publishing catalog – including those Beatles songs – for the startlingly inexpensive price of $47.5 million.
A decade later, in 1995, Sony Music Publishing merged with Jackson’s ATV to create Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which the two parties co-owned.
in 2016, Sony acquired the Michael Jackson Estate’s 50% share of Sony/ATV for $750m, making it a wholly-owned Sony company.
Two years later, in 2018, Sony acquired the entirety of EMI Music Publishing via two deals: it bought 10% of EMP from the Jackson estate for $287.5 million, and the bulk of EMP in a deal with Mubadala for $2.3 billion.
Sony had owned 30% of EMI Music Publishing prior to these acquisitions, via its stake in a consortium, including Mubadala, that acquired EMP in 2011 for $2.2 billion.
Rebrand from Sony/ATV to Sony Music Publishing
In February 2021, Sony announced that Sony/ATV was being rebranded to Sony Music Publishing.
Announcing the change, Sony Music Publishing Chairman & CEO, Jon Platt, said: “Sony Music Publishing has always embraced the power of songwriting to connect cultures and bring people together. Since its inception, Sony Music Publishing has supported the careers of songwriters and continues to defend their rights.
“Returning to the Sony Music Publishing name reconnects us to our legacy and further unifies our mission and culture with the Sony Corporation. Our new brand embodies a modern vision to be an authentic reflection of the music and songwriters we represent.”Music Business Worldwide