Warner just lost R.E.M’s, erm, ‘Warner Bros’ catalogue to Concord

R.E.M have signed a multi-year, worldwide licensing agreement with Concord Bicycle Music for the most commercially successful chunk of their recorded music catalogue.

The deal, set to begin early next year, includes the classic R.E.M. albums Green, Out of Time, Automatic For The People, Monster, New Adventures in Hi-Fi and Up along with hit singles Losing My Religion, Stand, Orange Crush, Shiny Happy People, Man On The Moon, Drive, Everybody Hurts, What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? and Nightswimming.

Interesting: these recordings, covering 1988-2001, are widely known as R.E.M’s ‘Warner Bros’ catalogue amongst fans, for they represent the segment of the band’s career when they left behind their independent beginnings at I.R.S to sign with a major label.

Well, those fans will have to find a new description now.

The reversion of the catalogue to the band suggests that their license deal with Warner Bros has come to an end – and they have chosen to take it elsewhere.

Concord didn’t miss a trick here: the private equity-backed, acquisitive US company even termed its release announcement: ‘R.E.M finds independence once again.’

The worldwide physical and digital licensing agreement with Concord encompasses recordings that have sold in excess of 85 million albums across the globe.

Forthcoming new releases include deluxe reissues with special bonus material, exclusive packaging and more.

“We leave the Warner bros family – a great label where we are certainly grateful for some of our career highs.”

Bertis Downs, REM Manager

“The band and all at REM HQ are very happy to be joining with Concord Bicycle Music for this next phase of curating and extending R.E.M.’s recorded legacy,” stated longtime R.E.M. manager, Bertis Downs.

“The albums covered by this agreement are some of the band’s most successful, both artistically and commercially, and we know the people at Concord share our enthusiasm about this partnership. We leave the Warner Bros. family, a great label where we are certainly grateful for some of our career highlights.

“But moving forward, we knew this was the right time to change it up and Concord is the right home for this key part of R.E.M.’s catalog.”

“After starting my career at I.R.S. Records and having the pleasure to work with R.E.M., it was disappointing when the band left to go to Warner Bros.,” stated Sig Sigworth, SVP Catalog Management & Development, Concord Bicycle Music.

“I’ve had the good fortune to consult with the band on their catalogue for the past several years, but to now, all these years later, be able to bring the band and their incredible post-I.R.S. legacy to the Concord Bicycle Music family is very rewarding.”

One of the most revered bands to emerge from the American underground in the post-punk Eighties, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, helped originate college rock and went on to global success.

Concord Bicycle Music, which operates across labels and music publishing, is a portfolio company of Wood Creek, an investment manager with over $2.5 billion in committed capital.

Concord received $100m additional investment in April.

In May, it swooped for Fearless Records and Wind-Up Records in a double acquisition. 

And in October, it signed a worldwide JV with US indie Razor & Tie.Music Business Worldwide

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