08 October 2020

Universal signs Richard Ashcroft to global music publishing admin deal

Richard Ashcroft, The Verve frontman and celebrated British singer-songwriter, has signed a global administration agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). 

The move sees Ashcroft bring his publishing back catalog to Universal, ending a relationship with Kobalt that dates back to 2006. 

It also comes a year after Ashcroft announced that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had relinquished their publishing rights to The Verve’s most popular hit, "Bittersweet Symphony," following a long-running dispute – leaving Ashcroft as the 100% credited writer of the song. 

Ashcroft’s songs have seen him receive two Ivor Novello Awards – Songwriter of the Year (1998) and Outstanding Contribution to British Music (2019) – as well as numerous Brit Awards, Q Awards and NME Awards with The Verve. 

Following The Verve’s 1993 album debut A Storm in Heaven, and 1995’s A Northern Soul, the release of Urban Hymns in 1997 launched them to international success. The album’s hits included "Bittersweet Symphony," "The Drugs Don’t Work" and "Lucky Man."

The Verve’s fourth album, Forth, reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, and 23 on the US Billboard 200. 

In 2000, Ashcroft made his solo debut with Alone with Everybody, followed by Human Conditions (2001) and BPI certified-Platinum Keys to the World (2006). He has since released two more solo albums These People (2016) and Natural Rebel (2018). 

Upon announcing the new publishing deal, Mike McCormack, UMPG UK Managing Director, said: “It feels like only yesterday that we signed The Verve to Virgin Publishing back in the early '90s. They went on to become one of the most important bands of the era, and Richard blossomed into an incredible songwriter, composing many of the big hits on his own."

“It’s so good to be reunited with him and his wonderful catalog of songs all these years later. UMPG, both UK and globally, feel as excited as I do about representing and promoting Richard’s catalogue with the respect and care it deserves.” 

Said Ashcroft: “I’m really excited about working with Universal Music Publishing and making this a hugely successful partnership. Music is power."

  • Source: Music Business Worldwide, By Tim Ingham