Paul Simon is the latest music legend to cash in on the publishing rights to their entire song catalogue. The prolific singer-songwriter, whose biggest hits include "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Mrs. Robinson" (from the film "The Graduate"), and "Call Me Al", received an unreported windfall for his rights. Based on comparable recent sales and the size of the catalog, one can presume it was in the $100 – $300 million range.
As you may already know, many of Simon's most famous songs were recorded back in his days as part of the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, all of which are reportedly included in the deal since he was the primary songwriter in that duo.
In a press statement, Simon says that the deal represents something of a closed circle for his career:
"I'm pleased to have Sony Music Publishing be the custodian of my songs for the coming decades. I began my career at Columbia/Sony Records and it feels like a natural extension to be working with the Publishing side as well."
Simon doesn't mention exactly how much the deal was for, and the terms remain publicly undisclosed. But with artists like Bob Dylan, Ryan Tedder, and Stevie Nicks having made such deals in the nine-figure range, it's a safe bet that Simon came out very well in the deal.
One estimate from the experts at Billboard magazine has Simon's music continuing to earn decent revenue, with nearly $1 million in "music publishing performance and mechanical revenue from streams, sales and radio play," last year, and his recorded music contract (as distinct from his publishing rights) will remain at Sony as well.
Jon Platt is the chairman and CEO of Sony Music Publishing, and he had this to say about the new Paul Simon deal:
"Paul Simon is a masterful, once-in-a-lifetime songwriter whose remarkable body of work has generated an enduring influence on our culture and consciousness. Paul Simon's music resonates deeply as a cultural touchstone for people all over the world. To represent his indelible songs is an incredible honor for Sony Music Publishing, so with tremendous pride, I welcome Paul to our family!"
Simon's publishing catalogue had previously been administered by Universal Music in an agreement that had Simon retaining ownership of his own copyrights. But now, Sony owns everything free and clear.