The world’s three biggest music publishers now reportedly own or control over 10million songs between them.
According to statistics from Sony Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner Chappell Music, the three music publishing companies now own or administer a cumulative 10million songs.
As reported by Music Business World, the numbers have been revealed in investor filings from each parent company of the aforementioned major publishers. The report does note, however, that the numbers don’t reveal how many songs are duplicates, meaning they could be administered by more than one of the major publishers.
Sony Corp’s most recent fiscal filing at the end of March 2022 revealed that they controlled 5.46million songs, an increase of 1million since March 2019.
Universal Music Group‘s latest annual report, meanwhile, reported that, as of the end of 2021, UMG controlled “nearly 4million titles”.
In Warner Music Group’s recently quarterly investor update, covering until the end of June 2022, they wrote that publisher Warner Chappell Music “represent[s] works by over 100,000 songwriters and composers, with a global collection of more than one million musical compositions”.
Earlier this year, Sony Music acquired all of Bob Dylan’s back catalogue. It followed the news that John Legend had sold the rights to his music to the companies KKR and BMG.
The two companies first came together to purchase the publishing rights and back catalogue of ZZ Top last year, while BMG also acquired the rights to the back catalogues of Mick Fleetwood, Tina Turner and Mötley Crüe.
Another huge catalogue sale earlier this year came from the estate of David Bowie, which sold the late singer’s publishing catalogue to Warner Chappell Music for a price reported to be upwards of $250million (£186million).
A wide-ranging series of deals by Warner Chappell has seen it strike catalogue deals with Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Quincy Jones, Anderson .Paak, Saweetie and the estate of George Michael, among many others.