In a hot market for music publishing transactions, hiring the right people is more important than ever. For the individual songwriter or his or her heirs, assembling the right team is critical when walking into an unfamiliar process. Buyers hire experts to wade through contracts and royalty statements. And both parties tap into their experts’ industry relationships. This list encompasses attorneys who have transacted recent deals, the experts that valued the catalogs, the connected brokers that guided sellers through the process and the people who funded the acquisitions.
Shot Tower Capital
David Dunn, managing partner
Dunn and Shot Tower have been involved as advisers in many of the biggest publishing deals of the last decade — especially over the last four years. He advised Sony and a consortium of buyers when they acquired EMI Music Publishing in 2012, then worked with the Michael Jackson estate, where he is a financial adviser, to sell its half of Sony/ATV to Sony for $750 million in 2016. He advised the sell-side again in 2018, when the consortium sold its shares of EMI to Sony for $2.3 billion in a deal ultimately valued at $4.5 billion. Shot Tower also sold Imagem Music to Concord Bicycle Music in 2017, the biggest publishing deal of that year, and in 2020 shopped Pulse Music and Big Deal Music. The former sold to Concord for $160 million; the latter to Hipgnosis for approximately $90 million. Both were two of the biggest deals of this year. In addition to the Jackson estate, Dunn serves as financial adviser to the estates of Aretha Franklin and Prince.
John Rudolph, CEO Santa Monica, Calif.
Rudolph recently worked two of the biggest songwriter catalog sales of 2020: He advised Imagine Dragons on its $100 million-plus catalog sale to Concord Music Publishing in August and shopped The Killers’ pre-2020 song catalog, which was acquired by Eldridge in November.
Bernstein Private Wealth Management
Dan Weisman, vp
Weisman, a former artist manager at Roc Nation, advises artists and songwriters on selling their catalogs and offers a number of services that are essential for a sale, including pre-transaction evaluations, tax planning and connections to his extensive network of professionals in these and related fields. These resources are provided without charge to songwriters and artists with a minimum of $1 million in annual income from their catalog. According to sources, the firm has been involved in over $100 million in catalog sales this year.
Neil Jacobson, founder/CEO
Jacobson left the presidency of Geffen Records in December 2019 to launch Hallwood, a company representing top songwriter-producers. He has brokered music-rights sales for Jeff Bhasker, Brendan O’Brien and Emile Haynie.
Hearts Bluff Music
Scott Parker, founder/president
According to the Nashville-based adviser, it has sourced over $50 million in publishing- and royalty-related compositions comprising 20,000 titles, including “Jungle Boogie,” “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed,” “We Built This City” and the I Love Lucy theme.
Thomas St. John
Thomas St. John, owner
St. John advised Calvin Harris on the sale of his catalog to Vine Alternative Investments.
Provident Financial Management
Zach Best, director, publishing and royalties department
Best advised Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio on their Primary Wave deal, which he described as a “multimillion-dollar, 10-year strategic partnership.”
Peter Csathy, founder/chairman
Csathy served as a consultant to Devo for its catalog sale to Primary Wave and facilitated the music publisher’s acquisitions of the Boston, Air Supply and Count Basie catalogs.
Eddie Fernandez, president
A former senior vp for Sony/ATV Latin and Universal Music Publishing Group Latin, Fernandez was most recently involved in Warner Chappell’s acquisition of the catalog of longtime Venezuelan hitmaker Franco De Vita.
Christopher Hull, partner
Hull handles audits, conducts financial due diligence and prepares music valuations on behalf of songwriters and music publishers.
Pat Savage, managing director/group director
+44 (0) 208 742 4950
Savage was the accountant in the Primary Wave-Chrissie Hynde deal.
Barry Massarsky, president
Massarsky is a leading expert in catalog valuation, income analysis and litigation economics.
Brad Sharp, senior managing director
Roy Salter, senior adviser
Sharp is well known in the industry for conducting valuations for music publishing clients. Also well known in the industry is Salter, who has been with FTI since 2012, when his Salter Group was acquired by the firm. Salter leads the firm’s valuation and financial advisory services practice and the media and entertainment industry group, among other responsibilities.
The W Group
Kirsten Wilson, founder/president
Wilson performances valuation work for publishing and recording assets for banks, estates and private equity clients.
Jonathan Goodwin Partner/head of merchant banking
+44 20 7195 1400
Goodwin declined to comment on his music publishing work, but sources say he has been involved in a number of catalog deals both before and after he merged his previous firm Lepe Partners with Alvarium in March 2019. Prior to that union, Lepe and Alvarium worked as advisers to the sellers of Spinnin’ Records — including its publishing operations — for its 2017 acquisition by Warner Music Group; the Ministry of Sound label to Sony International in 2016; and Eagle Rock Entertainment, a record label and producer and distributor of music programming for DVD, TV and digital media, to Universal Music Group in 2014.
Barron International Group
Liz Barron, founder/CEO
In the early 2000s, Barron, then at Bear Stearns and later investment bank Berenson & Company, was frequently linked to music industry deals. Since starting her own firm in 2015, her music-related work has been tied to Broadway: In 2016 she was involved in Concord’s partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber to form theatrical licensing venture The Musical Company, and the following year helped broker Concord’s acquisition of Samuel French, a publisher of British and American play scripts.
Aaron Siegal, managing director, technology, media and telecom group, investment banking division
The Wall Street powerhouse was involved in the sale of EMI Music Publishing to Sony Corp. in 2018 and is now shopping Kobalt Music Group, which is said to be seeking a $1 billion capitalization for its platform.
Aryeh Bourkoff, founder/CEO
The media specialist has been involved in a few big music industry deals over the past decade. In 2012, it was among the army of investment bankers involved in the sale of EMI Music Publishing to a Sony-led consortium of buyers. In 2017, it successfully shopped SONGS Music Publishing to Kobalt for between $120 million and $160 million, leading SONGS founder/CEO Matt Pincus to join LionTree as an adviser the following year.
The Raine Group
Fred Davis, partner
Raine served as financial adviser to the Sony-led consortium that bought EMI Music Publishing in 2012 for $2.2 billion, a record at the time. In 2020, Davis took on what could become another landmark publishing deal when he was hired to explore strategic opportunities for Downtown Holdings, which could lead to additional capitalization for the company or its sale. Downtown’s assets include a publishing division with an estimated $20 million in net publisher’s share, CD Baby, business-to-business services company FUGA and SongTrust, a royalty collection service for DIY music artists.
Alter Kendrick & Baron
Lisa Alter, partner
Katie Baron, partner
Alter represented Carlin in its sale to Round Hill Music (with a reported price of $245 million), as well as numerous Primary Wave acquisitions and/or partnerships, including the publishing and recorded masters catalogs of Olivia Newton-John and The Four Seasons, as well as the music publishing for the catalogs of Burt Bacharach and the pre-1964 songs of Ray Charles. Alter and Baron represented Primary Wave in the acquisitions of the publishing and recorded masters royalty income streams for Whitney Houston, Donnie Hathaway, Sublime, Air Supply, Culture Club and Bob Ezrin. Baron also advised Reservoir Media Management in its acquisition of over 16,000 copyrights from music publisher Shapiro Bernstein.
Barnes & Thornburg
Jason Karlov, partner
Karlov is the chair of the entertainment, sports and media practice group. Notable deals in the last year include the Journey publishing and record catalog sale, the Imagine Dragons publishing catalog sale to Concord Music Publishing and the sale of publishing catalogs of The Killers and Arthouse Entertainment.
Carroll Guido Groffman Cohen Bar & Karalian
Elliot Groffman, partner
Michael Guido, partner
Groffman represented Big Deal Music in its acquisition by Hipgnosis Songs. Guido recently represented Mark Ronson and Richie Sambora in their catalog sales to Hipgnosis.
Andrew Myers, partner
+44 20 7395 8468
Myers recently advised Chrissie Hynde in her catalog sale to Primary Wave.
The Davis Firm
Doug Davis, co-founder
Davis recently repped the sale of the catalog of pop hitmaker Savan Kotecha to Hipgnosis Songs.
Del Casino Law
Casey Del Casino, owner
Del Casino represents buyers and sellers of music publishing catalogs, including the sale of copyrights derived from termination of prior grants of copyrights.
Robert J. Sherman, co-chair, entertainment finance practice
Sherman advised Concord Music Publishing on the closing of $1 billion in debt financing.
Tim Mandelbaum, partner
Mandelbaum repped Blondie for its sale of the rights to the band’s writers’ share to Primary Wave and RZA for his share of half of his publishing royalties to his catalog.
Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Jacobson, who bills herself as “The Music Industry Lawyer” (it’s also her website URL), was involved in transactions related to songs written by or recorded by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Ray Gilbert and Andy Williams.
King Holmes Paterno & Soriano
Peter Paterno, partner
Laurie Soriano, partner
Paterno represented Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart in the sale of his music catalog to Hipgnosis and Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik in the sale of his catalog to Round Hill Music. Soriano advised Calvin Harris on the sale of his catalog to Vine Alternative Investments.
Loeb & Loeb
Derek Crownover, partner
Crownover represented country songwriter Hillary Lindsey — a Grammy Award winner for her work on Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” as well as for Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” — in Concord Music Publishing’s investment in her catalog.
Manatt Phelps & Phillips
Eric Custer, partner
Lee Phillips, partner
Custer was involved in the publishing sales of songs by Smokey Robinson, Sly & Robbie, Paul Anka and songwriter-producer-guitarist George Pajon Jr., who has collaborated with the Black-Eyed Peas on a number of their hits and worked with Carlos Santana, Sting and Macy Gray. Phillips was recently involved in the sale of Paul Anka’s publishing to Primary Wave.
Michelman & Robinson
Michael Poster, partner
Poster advised Vine Alternative Investments on its October acquisition of Calvin Harris’ catalog. He has also represented Johnny McDaid in his catalog sale to Hipgnosis.
Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light
Eric Greenspan, partner
Jeffrey Light, partner
Tamara Milagros-Butler, partner
Francois Mobasser, partner
Audrey Benoualid, senior associate (music)
The firm’s deals include catalog sales of Pulse Music (to Concord Music Publishing), Flip Records (Stain’d, Limp Bizkit to Shamrock), and Godsmack and Disturbed to Primary Wave; and Hipgnosis’ purchases of No I.D.’s music catalog (on behalf of No I.D.) and Sean Douglas’ music catalog (on behalf of Sean Douglas).
Stephen Sessa, partner
Sessa represented the songwriting catalogs of Tor Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen — the pop songwriting-production team known as Stargate — in their sale to Shamrock Capital. He also represented Concord Music Group in its investment in Pulse Music Group.
Rosenfeld Meyer & Susman
Bill Hochberg, partner
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Hochberg has repped a variety of catalog sellers. His current clients include the estates of Curtis Mayfield and Henry Mancini.
Selverne & Company
Michael Selverne, partner
Selverne represented SONGS Music Publishing in its sale to Kobalt Capital and Round Hill Music in its $240 million acquisition of Carlin Music Publishing.
Singh Singh and Trauben
Simran Singh, partner
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Singh recently represented the duo Luny Tunes in its sale to Sony/ATV.
Toberoff & Associates
Marc Toberoff, founding partner
Toberoff was the primary counsel representing Ray Charles’ heirs in Primary Wave’s acquisition of a majority stake in U.S. music publishing revenue from Charles’ pre-1964 catalog.
Wallace Christner, partner
Christner provided sell-side mergers and acquisitions counsel for Pulse Music Group in its partnership with Concord Music Publishing; Big Deal in its sale to Hipgnosis Songs; and Sony/ATV’s $750 million purchase of Michael Jackson’s remaining interest in the company.
Latham & Watkins
Jonathan West, partner
West represented Ithaca Holdings in its acquisition of Atlas Music Publishing and Big Machine Label Group. He represents Bytedance (TikTok) in content acquisition, talent engagement and music licensing.
Wolf Rifkin Shapiro Schulman & Rabkin
Brian Schall, partner
Heidy Vaquerano, senior counsel
Schall represented Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 and R&B songwriter-producer Brian Kennedy in their catalog sales to Hipgnosis. Vaquerano represented Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 and R&B songwriter-producer Brian Kennedy in their catalog sales to Hipgnosis.
John Branca, partner
Branca has made industry-shaping publishing deals, including the 1985 purchase of the Beatles catalog for Michael Jackson and the 1995 merger of Sony and ATV to create Sony/ATV Music. In 2020, Branca and his partners at Ziffren Brittenham have been selling catalogs and royalty streams for artists, writers and publishing companies, most of which are subject to confidentiality agreements.
City National Bank
Denise Colletta, senior vp/team leader, entertainment division
Long one of the go-to banks for the music industry, City National has financed and advised on a number of music publishing deals, and its refusal to divulge its clients and the work it has done for them is part of that appeal.
First Horizon Bank
Mark FordSenior vp, Music Industry
First Horizon has been involved as a lender in the purchase of music assets, including participating in the loan syndicate that provided a $600 million recapitalization of Concord. In the last five years, First Horizon has amassed a several hundred million dollar loan book, with the vast majority of that funding supporting music publishing deals and the remainder in record label deals, according to sources.
JP Morgan Chase
David Shaheen, managing director of entertainment group
JP Morgan Chase was the lead bank in a syndication of lenders that provided $600 million in refinancing for Concord this summer.
Pinnacle Financial Partners
Andy Moats, executive vp/director of music, sports and entertainment
Pinnacle has been extremely active in having closed loans totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in music publishing and label finance in 2020. While the bank doesn’t disclose clients or deals, it was co-lead in the bank syndication that provided the debt for Spirit Music’s $350 million recapitalization and management-led buyout in 2019.
Truist (formerly SunTrust Bank)
Jeff Dunn, head, sports and entertainment group
Truist, which formed in December 2019 as result of the merger between banks SunTrust and BB&T, was a lender in some of the biggest deals of the last few years, and part of the syndicate that provided $600 million in refinancing to Concord Music in August. In 2019, Truist — with Pinnacle Financial Partners — led the syndication of the debt that was used in the $350 million recapitalization and management-led buyout of Spirit Music.
Anthony Martini, partner
The Denver-based online auction platform, which sells music publishing assets and royalty income streams (among other media investments), recently handled its 1,000th transaction, which all told have generated over $84 million in sales revenue for songwriters and other copyright owners, according to its website. While Royalty Exchange handles mostly smaller transactions that are well under $1 million, it has handled some rights and income stream sales for owners that sold copyrights related to high-profile acts like The Doobie Brothers, Evanescence and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.