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Common buys Frank Zappa recordings, track catalog and full contents of ‘The Vault’ housing 1,000+ hours of movie and video


“Iconic works and iconic writers. Works which have outlined and have moved tradition.”

That’s how Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Common Music Group, outlined his agency’s standards for buying music catalogs this month.

Talking at an NMPA occasion in New York, Grainge added that UMG is just interested by buying underlying rights with such buyouts. He plainly acknowledged: “We don’t purchase revenue streams.”

These phrases all ring true right this moment, as Common Music Group broadcasts a multi-rights and profession spanning acquisition deal for the life work of music icon Frank Zappa.

UMG has acquired Frank Zappa’s recordings, publishing catalog, movie archive, and the entire contents of The Vault, the storage facility that homes the late Zappa’s life’s work.

The acquisition additionally consists of Frank Zappa’s title and likeness. UMG hasn’t disclosed the worth of the deal.

In keeping with Common, Zappa, who died of prostate most cancers when he was 52, “was a composer, virtuoso guitarist, songwriter, artist’s rights champion, provocateur, anti-censorship advocate, a musical pioneer, and one-time cultural ambassador to Czechoslovakia”.

He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 1995 and awarded the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1997.

With the acquisition, UMG says that its world catalog firm Common Music Enterprises (UMe) and Common Music Publishing Group (UMPG) will now “construct on the corporate’s already profitable monitor report of working with the Zappa Belief to amplify Frank Zappa’s profession”.

In keeping with UMG, during the last decade, the Zappa Belief and UMe “have revitalized Frank Zappa’s catalog” by a stream of archival releases, vinyl reissues of his traditional albums and streaming initiatives.

UMG says that it’s grown streams of Zappa’s music by double-digit percentages every year and lately, a lot of Zappa’s catalog was made obtainable in Hello-Res Audio for obtain and streaming for the primary time.

On the heels of UMe and the Zappa Belief’s work collectively, and Alex Winter’s 2020 function documentary Zappa, of which UMe supplied the soundtrack, UMG says that “Zappa and his music have skilled a newfound recognition that solely continues to develop practically 20 years after his demise”.


Zappa launched greater than 60 albums throughout his lifetime, as a solo artist and along with his bands, The Moms of Invention and The Moms.

A few of these albums embrace the early psychedelic rock of The Moms Of Invention’s 1966 debut album, Freak Out!, plus 1969’s’s Sizzling Rats, the 1969 launch Uncle Meat and 1971’s surrealistic movie and soundtrack, 200 Motels.

Along with these albums, a few of the highlights of Zappa’s discography of studio and stay albums embrace We’re Solely in it for the Cash (1968), Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970), Chunga’s Revenge (1970), Apostrophe(‘) (1974), Zoot Allures (1976), Zappa In New York (1978), Joe’s Storage (1979), Sheik Yerbouti (1979), Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (1982), Jazz From Hell (1986) and the ultimate album to be launched in his lifetime, The Yellow Shark (1993).

Beneath the brand new settlement with Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva Zappa (the Zappa Belief), Common’s publishing division UMPG additionally acquires Zappa’s full publishing catalog, together with Watermelon In Easter Hay, Cosmik Particles, Peaches En Regalia, Uncle Remus, Joe’s Storage and a whole lot extra.

Additionally as a part of the deal, Common acquires The Vault, Zappa’s storage facility that homes greater than 1,000 hours of movie and video.

UMG notes that Zappa recorded practically each session, rehearsal, stay efficiency, and “even informal jam” in quite a lot of audio and video codecs throughout practically his whole life. Common says that it now plans to “dive into’ The Vault for brand spanking new archival initiatives.

Moreover, with Zappa’s title and likeness included within the acquisition, UMG says that it’s going to interact present followers and new audiences world wide with merchandise, function movies, interactive experiences, in addition to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and different next-generation Web3 initiatives.


Information of the settlement with the Zappa Belief varieties a part of an rising pattern at Common to strike multi-rights acquisition offers.

In February, for instance, Common Music Group acquired the whole thing of iconic artist and songwriter Neil Diamond’s track catalog (through Common Music Publishing Group), in addition to the rights to all recordings from his profession.

Different acquisitions made by UMG this yr embrace an enormous cope with Sting, who bought his whole track catalog to Common’s publishing division UMPG in a deal one knowledgeable trade supply tells MBW reached a last acquisition price north of $300 million.

“UMG have greater than confirmed their ardour for Frank’s artwork and so your complete Zappa household – Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva – is thrilled to move the baton to the brand new endlessly stewards for all issues Frank Zappa.”

The Zappa Belief

The Zappa Belief mentioned: “Ten years in the past, Gail Zappa partnered with UMe to convey Frank Zappa’s music into the digital period and assist increase the Frank Zappa enterprise world wide, setting in movement a fruitful partnership that has resulted in exponential development.

“Collectively during the last decade we made Frank’s huge catalog of music obtainable for streaming and obtain, reissued a lot of his pivotal albums on vinyl, created a slew of thrilling archival releases and expansive field units, together with a sequence celebrating FZ’s legendary Halloween concert events, and had been nominated for a Grammy for the 200 Motels (The Suites) orchestral album.

“UMG have greater than confirmed their ardour for Frank’s artwork and so your complete Zappa household – Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva – is thrilled to move the baton to the brand new endlessly stewards for all issues Frank Zappa.

“Outdated and new followers will get extra of what they need – extra Frank Zappa music for years to return. Frank launched his first album with Verve Information in 1966 with The Moms Of Invention’s debut album, Freak Out!, so it is a very full circle second greater than 5 a long time later and we all know that his music and legacy will likely be in the absolute best fingers for generations to return.”

“We’ll proceed to develop modern methods to have a good time his huge and influential catalog for each longtime followers and people simply discovering his genius.”

Bruce Resnikof, UMG

UMe President & CEO Bruce Resnikoff, mentioned: “It has been a privilege to work with the Zappa household to launch Frank Zappa’s music world wide, develop his viewers, and defend his legacy for the previous decade.

“Zappa was a pioneering, visionary artist who created an unimaginable physique of labor and we’re extremely proud that Gail, and now his kids, have entrusted us along with his vital legacy.

“We’ll proceed to develop modern methods to have a good time his huge and influential catalog for each longtime followers and people simply discovering his genius.

“As a prolific artist nicely forward of his time, Frank Zappa was continually creating and recording and he left behind a treasure trove of extraordinary still-unreleased music and video in his Vault that may assist us usher within the subsequent period of Frank Zappa followers.”

“We’re honored to welcome Zappa’s influential track catalog and that his property has chosen UMG to uphold his artistry and to develop his immense legacy all through the world.”

Marc Cimino, Common Music Publishing Group

Marc Cimino, Chief Working Officer of Common Music Publishing Group, mentioned: “A robust voice in music and tradition, Frank Zappa was one of the sensible artists of his time.

“We’re honored to welcome Zappa’s influential track catalog and that his property has chosen UMG to uphold his artistry and to develop his immense legacy all through the world.”


Following Zappa’s passing in 1993, there have been greater than 60 posthumous releases, starting with 1994’s Cilvization Phaze III and spanning from Zappa’s final album accomplished earlier than his demise, Dance Me This, launched in 2015 as his a hundredth album, to expanded multi-disc field units for such albums as 200 Motels, Sizzling Rats, Orchestral Favorites, Zappa In New York, in addition to tremendous deluxe editions of his legendary Halloween concert events, full with costumes, and different stay favorites like The Roxy Performances.

Latest releases embrace Zappa ’88: The Final U.S. Present, a field set titled The Moms 1971, which celebrates Zappa’s 1971 lineups, and Zappa/Erie, a six-disc assortment that brings collectively beforehand unreleased concert events carried out in Erie, Pa. and the encircling space between 1974-1976.

In 2012, Zappa Information and the Zappa Belief – headed by his widow, Gail Zappa – made Zappa’s whole recorded catalog obtainable digitally for the primary time by a partnership with UMe, with half of the albums remastered from the unique analog sources and the remaining albums retransferred and ready from the unique digital tapes for CD and streaming and obtain.

Many albums had been additionally remastered for reissue on vinyl.

Shortly after, the Zappa Belief entered into an settlement with UMe for a world license and distribution deal that noticed the discharge of 60 of Zappa’s recordings.

In 2015, they partnered on a long-term, world licensing settlement for Zappa’s whole recorded catalog, in addition to rights administration participation throughout the remainder of Zappa’s work.

The partnership grew into an expansive license with UMe President & CEO Bruce Resnikoff and UMe that additionally consists of new product releases, trademark licensing, movie, and theatrical manufacturing.

So far, there have been 122 official Zappa releases, nonetheless, in response to UMG, that “solely scratches the floor of what the long run holds because it represents a small fraction of the recordings in Zappa’s expansive Vault which have been made publicly obtainable”.Music Enterprise Worldwide



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