Universal buys Stiff Records, ZTT and Perfect Songs


Universal Music Group (UMG) has acquired Stiff Records, ZTT and Perfect Songs music publishing from SPZ Group – the company founded by Jill Sinclair and celebrated record producer, Trevor Horn.

The agreement, effective immediately, brings two iconic British record labels into UMG, along with master rights to the entire ZTT catalogue and select Stiff recordings from artists including: Art of Noise; Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Jona Lewie; Kirsty MacColl; Shane MacGowan; Propaganda; Sam And The Womp; Lisa Stansfield; Tracey Ullman; Wreckless Eric; and 808 State.

The acquisition includes: Art of Noise’s “Moments In Love”; Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s debut album Welcome To The Pleasuredome, featuring global hits “The Power of Love,” “Relax” and “Two Tribes”; Jona Lewie’s “Stop The Cavalry”; Kirsty MacColl’s “A New England”; Shane MacGowan’s “My Way” and “Haunted” (a duet with Sinéad O’Connor); Sam And The Womp’s UK Chart topping hit “Bom Bom”; and 808 State’s seminal dance anthem “Pacific State.”

Perfect Songs Publishing will become part of Universal Music Publishing Group. Perfect is home to the multi-platinum songwriting catalogue of Seal, including the triple Grammy Award-winning “Kiss From A Rose.”

“Stiff and ZTT are truly unique and iconic labels that captured the zeitgeist of their generation and experienced great commercial success, whilst influencing contemporary music entirely on their own terms.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG

The Perfect Songs catalogue also features songs recorded by artists including: Marsha Ambrosius; Ian Brown; De La Soul; Eminem; Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Groove Armada; Michael Jackson; Holly Johnson; Alicia Keys; Little Mix; Mark Morrison; Olly Murs; Propaganda; Busta Rhymes; Rudimental; Sam And The Womp; Lisa Stansfield; Sugababes; and 808 State.

It also includes Art of Noise, whose recorded work has been used by an array of contemporary artists including Charlie XCX; Fatboy Slim; Flying Lotus; Ice Cube; J Cole; Lil Wayne; LL Cool J; Mac Miller; and The Prodigy.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “Stiff and ZTT are truly unique and iconic labels that captured the zeitgeist of their generation and experienced great commercial success, whilst influencing contemporary music entirely on their own terms.

“With Perfect Songs, we are adding an award-winning publishing catalogue, rich with hits, acclaim and global success. UMG is committed to building upon the legacy of these revolutionary labels, in keeping with the spirit of their founders.”

SPZ Group & ZTT Founder, Trevor Horn CBE, said “Jill started Perfect Songs and ZTT in the 80’s and I’m extremely proud of what she achieved. Lucian Grange and Jill were really good friends so I’m pleased that these catalogues are going to Universal.

“I’d like to thank all the writers and the artists on ZTT, Perfect and Stiff. It was a great experience and I enjoyed working with each one of you (most of the time). And I’d like to thank Paul Morley for all the wonderful times at ZTT, Steve Lipson and Anne Dudley, Liam Teeling and Chris O’Donnell (STIFF & Perfect) for their help along the way and Seal.”

ZTT was founded in 1983 by Trevor Horn, Jill Sinclair and the journalist Paul Morley. It is home to 50 albums of pop and electronica, and a further 100 singles.

Stiff Records was founded in July 1976 by Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson, and brought together artists as diverse as Elvis Costello, Kirsty MacColl, Madness and Ian Dury and what is generally regarded as the first ever punk rock single, New Rose by The Damned.

Perfect Songs was formed in 1982 by Horn and Sinclair.Music Business Worldwide

  • David McCoy

    The big boys building their jukebox for future streams and profit.
    If your an indie with 2 or 3 hits in a good territory then you could be getting an offer very soon i think.

    • Don Ho

      And your point is asshole?

      • David McCoy

        Your mothers a ho as well yeah?

  • Andy Chambers

    A Secret Wish – including the classy Duel – by Propaganda – dug into ZTT’s roster from the FGTH connection and found some great 80’s classic pop – those were great days!!


      A all-time production classic, as was the Claudia Brücken follow-up project ACT, Laughter Tears and Rage. Trevor and Jill certainly knew great talent.