Another week, another legendary artist announces a career-spanning global alliance with a major record company. Last week, it was Madonna and Warner Music Group. This time, it’s Aerosmith and Universal Music Group (UMG), jointly unveiling a new deal inked just ahead of the band’s 50th anniversary.
As a result of the new partnership, UMG will become home to Aerosmith’s entire recorded music catalog in 2022, as well as future music releases, merchandise and audio-visual content.
All of that is interesting, but perhaps the most interesting part is the “entire recorded music catalog” bit: A big chunk of Aerosmith’s classic catalog — including their 1973 eponymous debut, 1974’s Get Your Wings, and 1975’s Toys in the Attic — is currently released via Sony Music / Columbia, and has been for decades.
It appears that, next year, these rights will be reverting to Aerosmith, and the band has chosen to release them (likely via a global licensing deal, but time will tell) via Universal Music Group.
Doing so will unite this chunk of catalog with other gems from the Aerosmith timeline that were originally released via Geffen — now a Universal Music Group subsidiary. These Geffen records include 1987’s Permanent Vacation, 1989’s Pump and 1993’s Get a Grip.
In addition, UMG says the new deal will make use of unprecedented access to Aerosmith’s storied ‘Vindaloo Vaults’, as well as the personal archives of band members Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford, who will actively help curate their collections of music, photos, video footage, artwork, journals, set lists and memorabilia.
Joe Perry, Aerosmith co-founder and lead guitarist, commented: “It’s been a long road but I’m extremely happy and proud to say on behalf of Aerosmith we have been able to bring our 50 years of music under one roof by partnering with UMG. This will allow us to bring our music to our fans in ways we never were able to before. It’s something we’ve dreamed about happening for a long time. It’s a win for Aerosmith, UMG and ultimately our fans. Needless to say we are very excited. It’s an incredible way to celebrate 50 years and the many more years to come.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of UMG, said: “Aerosmith’s global success places them in rarefied air among the all-time greatest rock icons. On the band’s 50th anniversary, Aerosmith continues to influence the course of music not only through their iconic catalog but also through film, television and video games and their inimitable style. On a personal note, I couldn’t be prouder that they have chosen UMG as their global partner. We look forward to building upon their incredible legacy and ensuring their music continues to inspire fans around the world.”
Aerosmith manager Larry Rudolph said: “I couldn’t be happier for the band members and their families. Not only are we bringing together the band’s entire catalog in one place, but we’re entrusting these recordings to the very capable hands of Sir Lucian, Bruce Resnikoff and the incredible UMG system worldwide. I would like to thank Sir Lucian for tirelessly working together to craft perhaps the most unique and mutually beneficial catalog arrangement in history and providing a huge commitment to Aerosmith. The members of Aerosmith and I thank him and we all look forward to many years of successfully continuing to share the catalog of the greatest American rock band in history with the world.”
Since Aerosmith’s founding 50 years ago, the group has gone on to sell more than 150 million albums around the world. Universal says the group are “the best-selling American hard rock band of all time”.
Aerosmith’s biggest hits across the decades have included global smashes such as Livin’ On The Edge, Crazy, Janie’s Got A Gun, and Sweet Emotion, in addition to the groundbreaking collaboration, Walk This Way, with Run DMC.
Universal Music Group signed a similar-sounding deal with Elton John in 2018, which also covered both recorded music and merch – although that agreement, like WMG’s new tie-up with Madonna, also covered publishing admin.
Before the new deal, UMG’s existing relationship with Aerosmith expanded beyond recorded music, with Bravado (via Epic Rights) handling the band’s merchandise, and previous Aerosmith concert movies being released via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Additionally, Aerosmith is part of UMG’s partnership with YouTube bringing music videos into current video and audio standards, with recent releases including “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “Dream On.”
This article originally appeared on Music Business Worldwide.