BMG acquires publishing and royalty rights to John Lee Hooker’s music

It owns the rights to many other legendary blues musicians’ catalogues.

John Lee Hooker

Image: Paul Natkin / Getty

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BMG has acquired the rights to the music of legendary blues musician John Lee Hooker. The deal covers the publishing, recording and performance rights to most of his catalogue.

Hooker’s publishing catalogue was acquired from his estate in a joint deal with BMG and Fujipacific music. The entirety of the rights to his recorded and performance royalties has also been acquired solely by BMG, as well as a selection of the recording copyrights from 1980 onwards.

No financial details of the deal were revealed.

The deal means that a number of parties still own parts of Hooker’s catalogue, however BMG will now take a lead role in managing it. The acquisition follows many other similar ones carried out by BMG and other large firms.

Other blues artists represented by (or whose catalogue is owned by) BMG include Son House, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Hooker’s estate is managed by JAM Inc. CEO Jeff Jampol said in a statement: “As the longtime managers of the John Lee Hooker estate, JAM, Inc was happy to help the estate and BMG conclude this transaction.

“We are very pleased that an artist-first company like BMG will be the stewards of this great legacy moving forward, and we are grateful to remain in a consulting and management role of the John Lee Hooker legacy, in partnership with BMG, moving forward.

“This is a rare triple-win for everyone: the Hooker family, BMG, and for the millions of John Lee Hooker fans all across the world. We can’t wait to see, and be a part of, what’s coming next!”

BMG’s Thomas Scherer added: “BMG is proud to be the definitive home of John Lee Hooker’s music, one of the key inspirations and foundation stones of popular music. BMG will ensure John Lee Hooker’s legacy is honoured and respected wherever and whenever John Lee Hooker’s music is used, performed, recorded or sold.”

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