Universal Music Group Acquires Stiff Records, ZTT and Perfect Songs Publishing from Trevor Horn’s SPZ Group
LONDON/SANTA MONICA, December 19, 2017 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the acquisition of Stiff Records, ZTT and Perfect Songs music publishing from SPZ Group, the company founded by Jill Sinclair and legendary record producer, Trevor Horn.
The agreement, effective immediately, brings two of the most influential and iconic British record labels of the last forty years into the Universal Music Group fold, along with master rights to the entire ZTT catalogue and select Stiff recordings from artists including: Art of Noise; Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Jona Lewie; Kirsty MacColl; Shane MacGowan; Propaganda; Sam And The Womp; Lisa Stansfield; Tracey Ullman; Wreckless Eric; and 808 State.
Stiff and ZTT created pioneering and timeless pop records that became global chart hits and helped redefine independent label culture in the UK and beyond. The acquisition includes: Art of Noise’s “Moments In Love”; Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s debut album Welcome To The Pleasuredome, featuring global hits “The Power of Love,” “Relax” and “Two Tribes”; Jona Lewie’s “Stop The Cavalry”; Kirsty MacColl’s “A New England”; Shane MacGowan’s “My Way” and “Haunted” (a duet with Sinéad O’Connor); Sam And The Womp’s UK Chart topping hit “Bom Bom”; and 808 State’s seminal dance anthem “Pacific State.”
With the agreement, Perfect Songs Publishing will become part of Universal Music Publishing Group, which will develop new creative and commercial opportunities for its extensive song library, home to the multi-platinum songwriting catalogue of Seal, including the triple Grammy Award-winning “Kiss From A Rose.”
The Perfect Songs catalogue also features songs recorded by a wide variety of artists including: Marsha Ambrosius; Ian Brown; De La Soul; Eminem; Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Groove Armada; Michael Jackson; Holly Johnson; Alicia Keys; Little Mix; Mark Morrison; Olly Murs; Propaganda; Busta Rhymes; Rudimental; Sam And The Womp; Lisa Stansfield; Sugababes; and 808 State. It also includes Art of Noise, one of the most sampled artists in history, whose pioneering recorded work has been reimagined and used by an array of contemporary artists including Charlie XCX; Fatboy Slim; Flying Lotus; Ice Cube; J Cole; Lil Wayne; LL Cool J; Mac Miller; and The Prodigy.
In making the announcement, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “Stiff and ZTT are truly unique and iconic labels that captured the zeitgeist of their generation and experienced great commercial success, whilst influencing contemporary music entirely on their own terms. With Perfect Songs, we are adding an award-winning publishing catalogue, rich with hits, acclaim and global success. UMG is committed to building upon the legacy of these revolutionary labels, in keeping with the spirit of their founders.”
SPZ Group & ZTT Founder, Trevor Horn CBE, said “Jill started Perfect Songs and ZTT in the 80’s and I’m extremely proud of what she achieved. Lucian Grange and Jill were really good friends so I’m pleased that these catalogues are going to Universal.
I’d like to thank all the writers and the artists on ZTT, Perfect and Stiff. It was a great experience and I enjoyed working with each one of you (most of the time). And I’d like to thank Paul Morley for all the wonderful times at ZTT, Steve Lipson and Anne Dudley, Liam Teeling and Chris O’Donnell (STIFF & Perfect) for their help along the way and Seal.”
ZTT was founded in 1983 by legendary producer Trevor Horn, Jill Sinclair and the journalist Paul Morley. Within a year of its inception, Zang Tumb Tuum (as Morley had named it, after a Futurist’s description of the sound of a machine gun firing) was dominating the charts and the cultural landscape of Thatcher’s Britain. Many will know of its initial astonishing success with Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax” reaching number one in UK, Germany, Italy and France, as well as hitting 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad for a first single…And its follow-up, “Two Tribes” reaching top 5 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway. That moment in Summer 1984 when “Two Tribes” equaled the longest time a song had held the UK chart’s pole position, while at the same time “Relax” sidled back up the chart to number two…The album Welcome To The Pleasuredome sealed the group’s success, with unprecedented pre-orders. Since this initial big bang, the label has grown: it is home to a strong and varied catalogue, comprising 50 albums of iconic pop and electronica, and a further 100 singles. The ZTT catalog includes works by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Art of Noise, Propaganda, 808 State, Kirsty MacColl, Shane MacGowan, Lisa Stansfield and more, so much more.
About Stiff Records
In the dark days of the mid-70s, when gatefold-sleeved albums were the hippest things on the block, it wasn’t much fun being a pop fan. A change had to come, and it came via the highly influential Stiff Records. Founded nearly 40 years ago in July 1976 by Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson, two movers and shakers from the burgeoning London pub rock circuit, Stiff Records was at the heart of the new wave, bringing the world artists as diverse as Elvis Costello, Kirsty MacColl, Madness and Ian Dury and what is generally regarded as the first ever punk rock single, New Rose by The Damned. The label set the yardstick for music business marketing, with an array of memorable slogans and artwork, not least “If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth A F***”. Stiff was very much the blueprint for the independent label of today. It is home to one of the biggest selling Christmas singles of the 1980s: ‘Stop The Cavalry’ by Jona Lewie. Stiff has a significant history comprising 150 singles and more than 50 albums of revered 70s and 80s pop, punk and rock, it’s catalog includes Tenpole Tudor, Tracey Ullman, Wreckless Eric, Kirsty MacColl, Rachel Sweet, Desmond Dekker, Plasmatics and UK chart-toppers Sam And The Womp.
About Perfect Songs
Perfect Songs was formed in 1982 by record producer Trevor Horn and wife Jill Sinclair. Home to a varied catalogue of songs recorded by a wide range of artists including Seal, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Art Of Noise, Olly Murs, Little Mix, Rudimental, Mark Morrison, Sam and the Womp, Propaganda, 808 State, Lisa Stansfield, Sugababes, Groove Armada, Eminem, Ian Brown, Marsha Ambrosius, Alicia Keys and Michael Jackson. Home to a hugely synch-able catalogue with an impressive history of placements with worldwide brands such as Ralph Lauren, John Lewis, Virgin Atlantic, Littlewoods, Joe Fresh, K-Mart, Southern Comfort, The X Factor, Victoria’s Secret, BooHoo, Hyundai and the 2016 Superbowl.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com