Ron Perry To Head Columbia Records as Songs Music Publishing Sold

Ron Perry, co-founder and president of Songs Music Publishing, has been named the new head of Columbia Records just as his former company was sold to upstart music publishing and artists services company Kobalt Music Publishing for an estimated $160 million, according to the New York Times.   

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– Lorde
Lorde plays iHeart Radio Secret Sessions by AT&T at the Houdini Estate in Los Angeles Aug. 29.

Perry is expected to step in at Columbia Jan. 2, and fills the spot vacated by former chairman and CEO Rob Stringer who in April became the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, Columbia’s parent company, replacing retiring music industry veteran Doug Morris.

The 130-year-old iconic Columbia Records is home to stars including Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Beyonce, Adele, Chainsmokers, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem and Harry Styles.

Columbia as well as Epic have been run by interim bosses, with LA Reid leaving Epic in May following a sexual harassment scandal.

Songs’ Music Publishing, whose executive staff includes Matt Pincus, CEO and minority owners Perry and partner Carianne Marshall, owns the rights to songs by The Weeknd, Diplo and Lorde among others.

It is being sold to Kobalt Capital, a subsidiary of Kobalt.

The Songs catalog will now be administered and serviced by Kobalt Music Publishing, which includes music from Paul McCartney, Kelly Clarkson, Dave Grohl, Dr. Luke, The Chainsmokers, and the Miles Davis estate among many others.

Songs is notable for focusing on young contemporary songwriters rather than acquiring older catalogs. The deal is considered a sign of an improving content and music rights business as streaming has lifted the valuations of music publishing catalogs.

Perry has been a partner in Songs since it started in 2004, and has been heavily involved in the careers of clients including Lorde, overseeing A&R for her Melodrama album, and signed clients including The Weeknd, Diplo and DJ Mustard.

In a statement to the Times, Willard Ahdritz, the founder of Kobalt, said that Songs had “built a remarkable company with a combination of great creative vision and a deep business understanding. The results are an extraordinary music publishing company.

Songs is expected to close down, according to the Times, with some executives going to Kobalt. In a statement, Pincus said he saw the deal as a vindication of Songs’ model.

“We’ve had the opportunity to work intimately with groundbreaking songwriters at a time when the music business of tomorrow is being created,” said Pincus, who is not going to Kobalt, according to the Times.

Sony Music declined Pollstar‘s request for comment.