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This article first appeared on Billboard.com.
David Renzer, former Universal Music Publishing Group chairman/CEO, has been installed as chairman of Spirit Music Group, the indie publisher that owns the Pete Townshend, Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Marc Bolan catalogs, among other notable songwriter portfolios.
“What attracted me to Spirit Music is they are a fantastic company that has quietly built one of the finest owned catalogs,” says Renzer. “They own classic songs, have a great catalog and a great reputation.”
Mark Fried will continue as president/CEO and will work closely with Renzer to grow the catalog and develop and implement the company’s strategic objective, according to a statement issued by the company.
Renzer, who will commute between the New York and Los Angeles office, says the goal is to double the size of Spirit Music through acquisitions, increasing signings of contemporary artists/songwriters/ and producers and improving operations. Pegasus Capitol Advisors is the partner that provides funding for deals.
“If we want to pursue a larger acquisition, we will have the ability to scale up,” Renzer says. “I am exciting about that aspect because Spirit is such a strong platform.”
While Renzer spent 15 years with UMPG culminating in leading the company, his music career developed at independent music publishing firm Zomba Music, where he rose through the ranks to become senior vp and GM. Fried said that the addition of Renzer would help Spirit Music to continue to “redefine music publishing for the new millennium.”
During his tenure at UMPG, major signings included the catalogs of Elton John/Bernie Taupin, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake, U2, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Dave Grohl, Bon Jovi and Danny Elfman as well as doing deals for the Holland Dozier Holland and the Henry Mancini catalogs, according to the appointment announcement.
The Spirit catalog includes songs by Billy Squier, Angelique Kidjo, Boz Scaggs, Chicago, Angela Winbush, Marshall Tucker Band, C+C Music Factory and Chaka Khan and Wang Chung, among others. Renzer says the company is actively involved in putting together a game plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Townshend’s body of work with The Who.
“The other thing that is interesting about Spirit is they have done very well signing young artists to deals early on and then getting synchronization opportunities for them,” Renzer says of a contemporary catalog that counts the Scissor Sisters and The Used on its roster. In general, Renzer says Spirit is “very proactive and has an incredible track record for synch placements.”
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