SONGS Music Publishing Nabs George Gershwin Catalog

SONGS' Matt Pincus and Jon Keidan make a deal for Gershwin catalog.
SONGS' Matt Pincus and Jon Keidan make a deal for Gershwin catalog.
 Charlie Gross

SONGS Music Publishing has acquired the exploitation rights to the George Gershwin catalog from the Godowsky family and Heyward Memorial Fund, respective successors to the historic American songwriter and Porgy and Bess authors Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, The company will create and deploy creative strategy for the catalog of songs created during the latter part of Gershwin’s legendary career.

The deal encompasses some of the best-known compositions in the American songbook, including works from such classic Broadway productions as Porgy and Bess, Shall We Dance, A Damsel in Distress and The Goldwyn Follies, along with iconic songs such as “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and “Summertime,” among many others.

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With an eye toward reintroducing these songs to the film, television and advertising communities, SONGS will design and execute an integrated marketing campaign on behalf of the catalog. Some of the initiatives under consideration are hosted events for the creative communities in New York and Los Angeles, the creation of high-end marketing tools to showcase the catalog, and establishing an increased presence on social media platforms. In addition, SONGS will create a series of master recordings featuring covers of the compositions by established and upcoming contemporary artists for the movie, TV and advertising music supervision community.

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"As a global contemporary co-publisher, this is not our typical deal," said SONGS Music Publishing founder and CEO Matt Pincus. "It came about organically, as Jon Keidan [trustee for the Gershwin/Godowsky Trust] and I are longtime friends. But the chance to work with Jon and his family and the Heyward representatives on this singular, truly world-class set of songs is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and the people at SONGS."

"We could have taken this catalog of songs to any one of a number of major publishers," said Keidan. “But the team that Matt has assembled at SONGS are young, creative and determined, and they understand how to best market these songs, particularly in our digital industry. We feel their energy will breathe new life into these works to ensure that they live on for many generations to come.”

THE SONGS Music Publishing roster features 350 contemporary songwriters, including Lorde, The Weeknd, Diplo, Nelly and DJ Mustard, with offices in N.Y., L.A., London and Nashville.

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