Sony is in talks to sell its share of the world's largest music catalogue

Michael JacksonMike Powell /Allsport31 Jan 1993: Singer Michael Jackson performs during halftime at Super Bowl XXVII between the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys won the game, 52-17.

Sony is reportedly gearing up to sell its share of the largest music publisher on the planet.

The Wall Street Journal reports Sony has set in motion a strategy that would allow it to sell its share of the Sony/ATV Publishing partnership.

The potential sale is significant because the other half of that partnership is owned by the estate of pop icon Michael Jackson.

The two entities own a massive music catalogue that “includes the copyrights to most of The Beatles’ songs,” The Journal reports, as well as music properties from Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, and Marvin Gaye, among others.

Sony and ATV Publishing have been joint partners since 1995, and now that it appears Sony may be stepping out of the booth, a sale of its 50-per cent share could amount to a multibillion-dollar deal.

Compared to record labels, which simply own an artist’s songs and distribute those songs, music publishing companies are in a particularly more favourable position.

Publishing companies control how lyrics and melodies can be used, and can licence the material for a variety of derivative purposes — including film, advertising and new music recordings.

That affords publishing companies a great deal of control over creative works. Music publishers also collect royalties on behalf of artists.

The Journal reports Sony and the Jackson estate are talking to each other about Sony potentially selling its share of the publishing business, and that no public auction is planned.

Sony is currently trying to restructure itself — a move that proposes thousands of job cuts — in order to rescue the company from its flagging consumer electronics businesses.

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