Paul Simon has signed a worldwide agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) that covers his catalog and future work.
The multi-year deal, which went into effect Jan. 1, calls for UMPG to administer his catalog and new songs worldwide except in North America, where the material will continue to be handled by Paul Simon Music.
Additionally, UMPG will represent Simon’s work globally, including the U.S. and Canada, for synchronization opportunities in TV, film and advertising. Simon was previously with Warner/Chappell.
The 300-song catalog includes many modern-day pop classics penned by Simon as part of Simon & Garfunkel and as a solo artist, including “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “The Sounds of Silence,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “Loves Me Like a Rock” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”
“There’s a prestige factor to having such a great artist,” UMPG worldwide president David Renzer says. “And we’re very excited that he’s open to various exploitation opportunities.” He adds that Simon & Garfunkel’s extremely successful reunion tour last year has whetted the public’s appetite for Simon’s songs.
In the past, Simon has been very selective about allowing his music to be used in commercials: “Homeward Bound” was featured in ads for MasterCard and Microsoft, and “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” was in a Gap commercial.
On the big screen, Simon wrote the soundtrack to 1968’s “The Graduate” and allowed his music to be licensed for “American Pie 2” and “Almost Famous.” More recently, he received an Academy Award nomination for the song “Father & Daughter,” which he penned for “The Wild Thornberrys Movie.”
“We’re looking for unique opportunities in terms of films and commercials and television,” Renzer says, because “Paul is expressing more openness to license his music if it’s the right thing.”
Renzer would not reveal the terms of the Simon deal, saying only, “It’s a very substantial commitment.”
UMPG plans a “multi-faceted marketing blitz,” he says, to let music supervisors and ad agencies know that Simon’s songs are available “for the right fit and the right compensation.”
The plan includes a direct e-mail campaign to more than 6,000 industry executives worldwide, as well as loading the songs onto UMPG’s soon-to-launch SynchExpress Web site. UMPG will also service Simon & Garfunkel’s greatest-hits and Simon’s best-of collections to key music supervisors and ad agencies.
UMPG operates 47 offices in 41 countries. While Renzer says all territories will be primed for Simon’s music, outside of North America, the songwriter’s key markets include the U.K., France and Australia.
Simon, who records for Warner Bros., is working on a new studio album with a planned release for later this year.