BMG buys publishing rights to Virgin, Famous, including songs by Kurt Cobain, Take That, Iggy Pop and more

By Daniel S Levine,

BMG, which is already the world’s fourth-largest music publishing company, just got bigger. The company said today that it has purchased the worldwide publishing rights to the Virgin Music Publishing and Famous UK Music Publishing catalogs, as well as other selected titles from the Sony/ATV and EMI library.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the group of 21,000 songs from the Virgin catalog include hits like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Let Me Entertain You” by Robbie Williams and Iggy Pop’s “Passenger.” Other songs written by Kurt Cobain for Nirvana are included.

The company also acquired several 1980s hits, such as Tears for Fears’ “Shout,” Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” and Human League's “Don't You Want Me.”

“These catalogues contain some of the most influential and successful songs in popular music," said BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch in a statement. “We are delighted to have won the opportunity to represent the writers of those songs and to demonstrate to them BMG’s commitment to twenty-first century service. They have my pledge that we will do our very best to deliver for them.”

This is part of the deals that allowed Sony/ATV to buy EMI’s publishing arm for $2.2 billion this past summer. In order to get European Union approval, Sony had to agree to sell off some of EMI’s holdings.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.



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