Concord buys majority stake in pop publisher Pulse in $100m+ deal

Pulse Recording CEOs Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham in their office.

Concord has established itself as a global music business power player in these past few years – not least via aggressive acquisitions, including its industry-shaking $500m-plus buyout of Imagem in 2017.

The strength of the US-based company across both publishing and records, particularly in the world of catalog, is under no doubt: having turned over more than $400m in 2018, MBW understands Concord’s sights are now set on half-billion-dollar annual gross revenues in the coming years.

Yet if there is one area of Concord’s business ripe for strategic improvement, it’s frontline, chart-focused A&R. And today, it’s announced a major move which promises to transform it into a heavy-hitter in the field.

Concord Music Publishing has acquired Fujipacific Music’s stake in Los Angeles-based Pulse Music Group – widely regarded as one of the hottest pop music publishers in the world today.

MBW understands that, as a result of the deal, Concord is now majority-owner of Pulse, with our sources suggesting that the acquisition was valued at well north of $100m.

As a result of the buy, Concord will administer the catalog and all future signings from Pulse.

Pulse, in turn, will continue to be led by principals Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham (pictured), along with their executive team including Maria Egan, President, and Ashley Calhoun, Vice President.

Pulse’s roster of hitmakers includes Starrah, Ty Dolla $ign, OZ, Tyler Johnson, YEBBA, Rich The Kid, James Blake, YBN Cordae, El-P, Bonnie McKee and more.

“Scott and Josh are proven winners whose business built from scratch is both complementary to and strategic with Concord’s ambitions in music publishing,” said Concord Chief Publishing Executive, Jake Wisely.

“It was quickly apparent that Pulse would make a great partner for us and Pulse recognized that Concord is the best fit for them.”

Jake Wisely, Concord

“It was quickly apparent that Pulse would make a great partner for us and Pulse recognized that Concord is the best fit for them. I’m also grateful to do business with longtime friend and colleague Ichi Asatsuma of Fujipacific.”

Commented Steve Salm, Concord Chief Business Development Officer: “While the broader market remains hyper-focused on deep publishing catalog and passive income-stream deals, Concord has chosen to differentiate itself with partnerships that greatly expand its abilities to create frontline content across compositions, recordings and theater.

“Recognized as one of the leading frontline publishers in the world, Pulse is a company that Concord has always greatly admired, and this collaboration instantly makes Concord a leader in the frontline pop, hip-hop and R&B publishing world.”

“this collaboration instantly makes Concord a leader in the frontline pop, hip-hop and R&B publishing world.”

Steve Salm, Concord

Said Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham, Co-CEOs of Pulse Music Group: “From day one, we built Pulse Music Group as a world class incubator for culturally relevant songs. We wanted to create a haven built by songwriters, for the modern songwriter culture.

“Through the hard work, A&R prowess, and passion of our entire team combined with the global footprint, financial capacity and administration expertise of the team at Concord, we are now well on our way to achieving that,”

“This joint venture with Jake, Steve, Bob, Scott and the team at Concord enables us to continue providing world-class services to our writers who are at the forefront of every decision we make.”

Named the 2018 AIMP Music Publisher of the Year, Pulse has a catalog of more than 10,000 songs and 175 active clients.

Its catalog includes: 7x Platinum hit “Havana” by Camila Cabello and “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 (both co-written by Starrah); 10x Platinum “Despacito (Remix)” by Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber (Marty James); 8x Platinum “Sorry” by Justin Bieber (BloodPop); 10x Platinum “Roar” and 8x Platinum “California Girls” by Katy Perry (both Bonnie McKee); and “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott (OZ).

The Concord deal includes American Songs, the publishing entity founded by Rick Rubin; Magnus Media, the Latin entertainment company founded by Marc Anthony; Creative Nation, the multiple award-winning music publishing and management company created by Luke and Beth Laird; Wide Eyed Entertainment, the management and publishing company founded by Beka Tischker; and BEAT HOUSE, the LA-based music agency founded by Tiffany Kumar.

Fujipacific will continue to sub-publish the Pulse catalog and new works in Japan, India and Southeast Asia (including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Guinea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Borneo and Thailand). Music Asset Management will continue to administer the Pulsecatalog and new works until July 2020.

The transaction was managed and negotiated for Concord by Steve Salm, Bob Valentine, Larry Blake, Dan Hoffman and Evelyn Paglinawan with outside counsel provided by Reed Smith and financial advisory by Brian Richards of Squarefield Capital.

Pulse Music Group’s team was led by David Dunn and Robert Law of Shot Tower Capital and Jeffrey Light of Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP with counsel provided by Venable LLP.Music Business Worldwide

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