Paul Simon Sells Music Catalog to BMG: A Look Back

Paul Simon, the legendary singer-songwriter, has joined the growing list of artists selling their music catalogs. In a deal reportedly worth a "substantial" amount, Simon transferred the rights to his solo recordings and some of his songs co-written with Art Garfunkel to BMG 1. Let's delve deeper into this deal and the importance of music rights.

The Deal

The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed 1. However, it is known that BMG acquired Simon's solo recordings, as well as some of the songs he co-wrote with Garfunkel 1. This sale includes the rights to the recordings and the associated publishing royalties 2.

Music Rights: What Are They?

Music rights refer to the legal ownership and control of various aspects of a musical composition or recording 3. These rights can be divided into two main categories:

  1. Composition rights: These are the rights to the lyrics and melody of a song. They are typically owned by the songwriter or the publisher.
  2. Sound recording rights: These are the rights to the actual recording of a song. They are typically owned by the record label or the artist.

Who Owns the Right to Music?

The ownership of music rights can be complex, as it often involves multiple parties. For example, in the case of Paul Simon's deal with BMG, the company acquired both the composition and sound recording rights to his solo recordings and some of his co-written songs with Garfunkel 1.

How Do Music Rights Work?

Music rights provide the legal basis for artists, record labels, and publishers to earn revenue from their work. When a song is performed, broadcast, or used in a commercial, the copyright owners are entitled to royalties 3. These royalties are collected and distributed by music rights societies, such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC 4.

Conclusion

Paul Simon's sale of a "substantial" portion of his catalog to BMG is a reminder of the growing trend of artists selling their music rights. This deal highlights the importance of understanding music rights and their value in the music industry.

Footnotes

  1. BMG Acquires Paul Simon's Royalty Income Streams From Simon & Garfunkel Recordings 2 3 4

  2. Paul Simon Sells Music Catalog to BMG

  3. What Are Music Rights? 2

  4. Music Rights Societies: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC

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