Universal Music Group has acquired the master recording and publishing catalog – along with the film archives and the name and likeness – of the late Frank Zappa, the founder of the Mothers of Invention. The deal was announced on Thursday (June 30); terms were not disclosed.
Zappa’s song catalog – which will be managed by Universal Music Publishing Group – includes songs such as “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow”, “Valley Girl”, Trouble Every Day” and “Dancin’ Fool”, as well as serious orchestral compositions. like “The Perfect Stranger” and “Strictly Genteel”. Its catalog of masters will be overseen by Universal Music Enterprises, including albums Pinball, We’re only here for the money, hot rats, 200 motels, Just another LA band, Apostrophe, Sheikh Yerboutiand Joe’s Garage. The company also acquired the Vault, a storage facility that houses Zappa’s life’s work, according to the deal announcement.
“Ten years ago, Gail Zappa partnered with UMe to bring Frank Zappa’s music into the digital age and help grow Frank Zappa’s business around the world, setting in motion a successful partnership that has resulted in exponential growth,” the Zappa Trust said in a statement. “Together, over the past decade, we’ve made Frank’s vast catalog of music available for streaming and download, reissued many of his crucial albums on vinyl, created a host of exciting archival releases and massive box sets, including a series celebrating FZ’s legendary Halloween concerts, and were nominated for a Grammy for the orchestral album 200 Motels (The Suites) UMG more than proved their passion for the art of Frank and the whole family Zappa – Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva – is thrilled to pass the baton to the new stewards forever for all things Frank Zappa.
Although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, Billboard estimates that Zappa’s music assets have a valuation of between $25 million and $30 million. This is based on $1.7 million in estimated annual revenue for the master recordings after deducting production and distribution costs, and approximately $350,000 per year for the publishing catalog. UMG, which has distributed Zappa master recordings for a dozen years, declined to comment.
UMG says it “will build on the company’s already successful track record of working with the Zappa Trust to amplify Frank Zappa’s career as a pioneer, iconoclast, brilliant musician and fearless artist who defied music and culture with his unconventional and uncompromising vision and advocacy”.
President and CEO of UMe Bruce Resnikoff added: “Zappa was a pioneering and visionary artist who created incredible work and we are incredibly proud that Gail, and now her children, have entrusted her important legacy to us. We will continue to develop innovative ways to celebrate his vast and influential catalog for both longtime fans and those new to his genius. As a prolific artist well ahead of his time, Frank Zappa was constantly creating and recording and he left in his vault a treasure trove of extraordinary, yet unreleased music and videos that will help us usher in the next era of Frank fans. Zappa.
Aside from finance, the general manager of UMPG Marc Cimino said in a statement: “A powerful voice in music and culture, Frank Zappa was one of the most brilliant artists of his time. We are honored to welcome Zappa’s catalog of influential songs and that his estate has chosen UMG to champion his artistry and develop his immense legacy around the world.