South Korean investment and management firm Beyond Music made its first acquisition of a North American music catalog by purchasing the rights to the music of Greg Wells, a Grammy-winning Canadian songwriter-producer whose credits includes music recorded by Adele, Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Katy Perry and Quincy Jones.
Wells’ career spans genres and decades. As a songwriter, Wells has credits on Aerosmith’s Nine Lives, Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love, Adele’s 21 and John Legend’s Bigger Love. His production credits include The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Twenty One Pilots’ Vessel and the In The Heights soundtrack. The rights vary by title and include publishing rights, producing income rights, and master performance rights, according to a company spokesperson.
With the Wells acquisition, Beyond Music’s assets under management are 300 billion won ($230 million). Before this deal, Beyond Music – which claims to be “largest music IP management company in Asia” – spent more than $200 million on acquisitions in Asia, including the catalogs of FNC Investment, KNC Music and Interpark, to build a catalog of more than 26,000 songs. The company received funding from institutional investors including KB Securities, Base Investment, Maven Growth Partners and Dreamus Company.
The Wells acquisition was made by a newly established U.S.-based subsidiary, Beyond Music US, because domestic transactions are simpler for tax and legal purposes, and the company wants to pursue additional international opportunities in the future, according to the spokesperson. That said, Wells’ catalog covers many Western artists who are also popular in South Korea and throughout Asia. This company believes this acquisition is a “unique opportunity” and “a stepping stone for Beyond to become a global music rights management company,” the spokesperson added.
“Now is the time to become a global music rights management company by securing not only Asian, but also international music rights,” Beyond Music CEO Jangwon Lee said in a statement. Jangwon is also the CEO of Content Technologies and CT Investments, which debuted a K-pop focused exchange-traded fund, using the ticker KPOP, on the NYSE Arca Exchange in September. Beyond Music is a subsidiary of Contents Technology.
In a statement, Wells called it “an honor to be the first major music catalog acquisition for Beyond outside the Korean market. I am impressed with their commitment to creative freedom as well as maximizing the impact of my songs. I feel my work is in good hands with them.”
Wells won a Grammy in 2019 for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for his production and engineering work on The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (he spoke with Billboard’s Pop Shop podcast about the soundtrack in 2018). He also received Grammy nominations for his work on In the Heights, Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.
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