Spirit Music Group has sold a publishing catalog originally signed by UK-based indie publisher B-Unique to competitor Concord.
MBW understands that this catalog includes hits from songwriters such as Jonny Coffer and James Bay (pictured) – including the latter’s double-Platinum (UK) album, Chaos & The Calm.
Songs by other songwriters including John Newman and the band Kodaline are also thought to be included.
The news of Spirit selling, rather than buying, a valuable music catalog amid a frenzied current music publishing M&A market is obviously surprising.
Doubly so because Spirit secured over $350m in a recapitalization last year, amid management changes at the company.
US-based Spirit tells MBW it has sold the songs to Concord for a “a strategic, one-time tax reason”.
Spirit Music Group and B-Unique formed a joint venture in 2015 – Spirit B-Unique Ltd – which effectively acted as Spirit’s expansion into the UK. As part of this deal, Spirit acquired B-Unique’s back catalog.
All signings made by Spirit B-Unique after this date, says Spirit, are unaffected by the new catalog sale to Concord.
Those unaffected works would include songs written by Ed Sheeran collaborator Johnny McDaid, whose catalog Spirit B-Unique acquired when it bought Polar Patrol Publishing in 2016.
“Spirit Music Group confirms that it still retains ownership of B-Unique. We determined to sell some of the assets within that specific catalog for a strategic, one-time tax reason.”
Spirit Music Group spokesperson
When contacted by MBW, a Spirit Music Group spokesperson commented: “Spirit Music Group confirms that it still retains ownership of B-Unique. We determined to sell some of the assets within that specific catalog for a strategic, one-time tax reason.
“As part of this process, Spirit Music Group wanted to make sure that those copyrights ended up in a great publishing home — we have a lot of respect for Concord.
“Any copyrights brought into the Spirit B-Unique fold since the time of the formation of the Spirit B-Unique JV are still retained by Spirit Music Group.”
Spirit is certainly still active as an acquisitive party: in September, the company confirmed that it had acquired the master recordings of country star Tim McGraw, originally released via Big Machine.Music Business Worldwide