Paul McCartney starts process to acquire rights to the Lennon/McCartney back catalogue

McCartney begins process to win rights from Sony/ATV after infamous Michael Jackson buy out

Paul McCartney has allegedly begun a process to acquire the rights to the Lennon/McCartney back-catalogue of music, it has been reported today (March 18).

Music Publishing is a lucrative business, with publishers taking a large chunk of revenue generated through owning the ‘rights’ to a track. Michael Jackson infamously bought ATV Music in 1985, who published the Lennon-McCartney songs among other artists, for $47.5million, thus acquiring the rights to the Beatles duo’s rights and deals. Michael Jackson’s Estate sold the ATV/Sony Music company back to Sony for $750 million last year.

It was reported that after Jackson had bought the company, McCartney felt he had been undercut; he had advised Jackson on the virtues of music publishing and felt the King of Pop had betrayed their close personal friendship through setting up a deal to buy ATV music.


The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 gave songwriters the ability to recapture the publishers’ share of their songs, and in the case of titles written before 1978, that process could begin after 56 years. The Lennon-McCartney catalogue is reportedly now up for reversion – or at the end of lease following the death of Jackson – with 2018 marking the end of the 56 year period.


Read More: Paul McCartney announces the first ‘One on One’ tour dates

Billboard tonight reports that McCartney filed a termination notice of 32 songs with the U.S. Copyright Office. Additionally, another he has filed termination notices for his songs that were issued on Beatles records from 1962-1964, although many of the titles he has moved to terminate were issued much later, including ‘Come Together’, ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ and seven songs on the ‘Abbey Road’ album, as well as the single tracks ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘The Ballad of John & Yoko’.

The news comes after McCartney announced his first crop of tour dates for 2016, and also follows the passing of Beatles producer George Martin, who McCartney described as “a true gentlemen” in a moving statement, adding he was “like a second father” to him.

He added: “He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George.

“From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.”

See the first seven tour dates below.


04-13 Fresno, CA – SaveMart Arena
04-15 Portland, OR – Moda Center
04-17 Seattle, WA – Key Arena
04-19-20 Vancouver, British Columbia – Rogers Arena
04-30 Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
05-02 Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford Premier Center

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