Music Updates

Publishing Briefs: Julian Casablancas Signs With Concord, Hipgnosis Friends Carole Bayer Sager

The two will work together with Casablancas and his team.


The Board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and its investment adviser The Family (Music) Limited acquired the catalog of decorated pop songwriter Carole Bayer Sager.

The EGOT nominee’s career spans over five decades and includes classic hit songs like Grammy-winning “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John and “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond. The former peaked at No.1 on the Hot 100 chart the week of Jan. 18, 1986 while the latter peaked at No. 5 the week of Nov. 13, 1982.

In addition to her Grammy win (out of a total of nine nominations), Sager won an Oscar in 1982 for “That’s What Friends Are For,” which she co-wrote for the movie Arthur with future husband Burt Bacharach. She’s received an additional five Oscar nominations over the course of her career for songs written for films including The Spy Who Loved Me (“Nobody Does It Better”), Beethoven’s 2nd (“The Day I Fall in Love”) and Junior (“Look What Love Has Done”).


Sony Music Publishing (SMP) South Africa signed a worldwide (excluding Africa) agreement with Gallo Music Publishers (GMP). Under the new partnership, SMP will extend its services to facilitate in the international promotion of GMP’s catalog of songs.

GMP is the publishing side of Gallo Record Company, one of Africa’s largest and oldest independent labels. The publishing company is comprised of South African songwriters and copyrights of some of their most iconic music through decades.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Gallo Music Publishers to the Sony Music Publishing family. With its tremendous roster of writers, the history of Gallo is the history of South African music,” said Guy Henderson, President, International, Sony Music Publishing. “Together, with Sony Music Publishing’s great roster of writers, we look forward to taking the best of African music to the rest of the world.”

Gallo-published songwriters will have the opportunity to collaborate with Sony songwriters and have their songs promoted overseas. Through its administration and synchronization services, SMP will also help collect, distribute and expedite royalty payments as well as create placement opportunities for GMP’s songs and licensing for use in film, television and commercials.

“We are very excited to announce this partnership which has been a long time in the making. We feel our vast catalogue and administration of this rich African heritage of songs outside of Africa’s borders is in good hands with Sony Music Publishing,” said Rob Cowling, General Manager of Gallo Music Group.Their extensive network of professionals and systems as well as a UK team, with some African roots and a knowledge of the content, will be a valuable asset in managing GMP’s works and driving revenues for our composers, and their beneficiaries.”


This Fiction Music and Spark Music Group joined forces for a new publishing venture called Campfire Songs. The company also announced it has signed NOBLE — a South African LA-based writer/producer duo formed by Bubele Booi and David Balshaw — to a global co-publishing agreement covering their catalog and future works.

Seth Kallen and Ollie Hammett founded This Music and Spark respectively. Kallen’s company represents artists like X Ambassadors and JP Saxe while Hammett’s Spark manages Teddy Geiger and Dan Romer amongst others. Amidst the pandemic and pursuing artist management individually, the two friends created Campfire as a new joint endeavor for fostering rising talent.

“Ollie and I are longtime friends, and have had many long conversations about both the struggles and thrills of being management entrepreneurs. When the realities of the pandemic started to truly set in, we leaned on and supported each other, as many independent managers were doing, to figure out how to survive through so much uncertainty. We both made a distinct decision to build something,” Kallen said. “It’s been exciting to be reminded that music is global, and great writers, artists, and producers have been able to adapt and work remotely on creating great music.”

Booi earned production credits on Beyonce’s The Lion King: The Gift album. He alongside the megastar and Robert Magwenzi created the song “Find Your Way Back.”

Campfire is currently searching for third-party administration partners for NOBLE and future signings.


Sheer Music Publishing announced a worldwide publishing deal with Nigerian artist Iyanya. The largest independent music publisher in Africa, which was acquired by Downtown Music Holdings last May, agreed to represent the R&B/Afro-pop musician, with the deal including his current catalog and future offerings.

“All of us at Sheer are excited to represent a songwriter of Iyanya’s stature and versatility,” said David Alexander, Managing Director of Sheer. “The most interesting producers in popular music are looking for fresh inspiration and, at the moment, that is coming often from Nigeria as the artists and songwriters from this region travel extensively and collaborate with their fellow songwriters from across the globe.”

“With this partnership, I aim to streamline the complexities the music industry is known for, harness my creativity and administer the collection of my royalties effectively. This is an exciting prospect for me as I journey in my music career to the next level,” Iyanya said.

Iyanya’s career took off after he won the Project Fame West Africa talent competition in 2008. Since then, he has released a handful of projects and collaborated with fellow Nigerian artists Wizkid and D’banj.


Nashville singer-songwriter Bre Kennedy has signed a global admin deal with Kobalt Publishing that will cover all of her works moving forward.

“I couldn’t be more excited and honored to start this next chapter of music and songwriting with Kobalt,” Kennedy said. “Everyone at the company inspires me to push my writing boundaries and continue to help me grow as a songwriter… They feel like family and have been like home for me here in Nashville. I’m proud to continue to call Kobalt home!”

Kennedy is a prominent force in Nashville. She’s written for acts like Nina Nesbitt and Echosmith and released two independent EPs: Jealous of Birds and Twenty Something. In 2019 and the beginning of 2020, Kennedy opened for Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark Jr. and Phillip Phillips. She is preparing to announce her forthcoming album this year.


Kobalt also signed 19-year-old singer-songwriter Luz to a worldwide publishing deal covering full range of creative, synch and administration services for her catalog and future works.

The Irish/Argentinian artist first gained traction after posting a cover of “Lose My Mind” by Dean Lewis and subsequently opening for him at his Dublin show in 2019. Luz started her singing career in the shadows, posting covers from her bedroom before catching the attention of artists like Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Niall Horan. Last year, she released her first three singles which garnered more than 30 million streams across streaming platforms.


Sentric Music Group signed London-based singer-songwriter Tom Speight to a global songwriting publishing deal. The agreement includes his entire catalog and future releases.

Speight has accumulated more than 160 million streams across various music streaming platforms and has more than one million monthly listeners on Spotify. He scored sync placements on Netflix’s To All The Boys: Always and Forever and romantic drama series Virgin River. Speight has also made television appearances in the UK and earned support from BBC Radio 2. Speight is slated to drop his second album Everything’s Waiting For You this year.

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