UMPG Concludes Publishing Joint Venture With Christian Music Veteran Michael Puryear As First Deal Under New Division

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has formed a new Nashville based Christian and Gospel music division, Universal Christian Music Publishing, it was officially announced today by David Renzer, Worldwide President of UMPG and Pat Higdon, Sr. VP/GM of UMPG Nashville.

As its first major deal, Universal Christian Music Publishing has concluded an exclusive joint venture agreement with Final Four Music and its owner, industry veteran Michael Puryear. Puryear formerly ran BMG’s Christian music publishing division and has penned three No.1 singles including “If We Only Had The Heart,” by Bruce Carroll, “Dying To Reach You,” by Point of Grace, and “An Open Door,” by Larnelle Harris. A 30-year veteran, Puryear has been instrumental in placing songs for such artists as Bob Carlisle, Diamond Rio, Avalon, Michael Peterson, Jessica Simpson and The Gaither Vocal Band and has been involved in the development of such songwriters as Ginny Owens, Kyle Matthews, Dwight Liles, Marcus Hummon, Chris Rice, and Scott Krippayne, among many others.

Through the agreement, renowned producer/music executive Elwyn Raymer will also act as a consultant to both Universal and Final Four Music. Elwyn Raymer has been involved in Gospel/Christian music production since the 60’s, working closely with such artists as Steven Curtis Chapman, Marcus Hummon, Dick and Melodie Tunney, Scott Wesley Brown, Greg Nelson, and Kyle Matthews. He was also involved in the catalog acquisitions of Sparrow Music, and Reunion Records.

Through the new division UMPG will focus on catalogue acquisition, artist and writer development, and catalogue exploitation for Christian and Gospel Music. UMPG’s existing catalog contains many important Christian and Gospel songs including such hits as “Change The World,” “You Light Up My Life,” “Butterfly Kisses,” “Testify To Love,” and “God Bless America,” as well as songs recorded by The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, The Hemphills, Willie Nelson, and The Mighty Clouds Of Joy. Recent success in these genres also includes songs written by UMPG’s Rudy Perez, Gordon Kennedy, Eric Foster White, and Wayne Tester.

David Renzer, Worldwide President, Universal Music Publishing Group, commented: “While Universal Music Publishing has long had an interest in various Christian and Gospel music compositions, by establishing this new division and bringing in such talented, creative executives as Michael Puryear and consultant Elwyn Raymer, we hope to send a signal to the community that we are committed to growing this area of our business.”

Higdon further commented: “We are very pleased to be working with Michael Puryear and Elwyn Raymer. Their background and expertise will help UMPG aggressively build upon our rich Christian and Gospel catalog.”

Puryear added: “I am thrilled to begin this new joint venture with Universal and look forward to breaking new ground for the company.”