Although Ronstadt is one of the best-selling artists of all time, the fact that she’s not a songwriter makes her deal different from the Beach Boys, who sold a controlling interest in their intellectual property, and from David Crosby, whose deal contained his publishing rights. Instead, Iconic has acquired Ronstadt’s assets, in a sale that includes name and likeness to promote the masters.
Iconic’s partnership with Ronstadt, her longtime manager John Boylan, and personal assistant Janet Stark will aim to preserve her legacy in the digital era — including working with streaming services and social media, rolling out reissues, focusing on anniversaries, and more.
The company announced the signing on Monday morning, during Women’s History Month and shortly after Ronstadt’s documentary The Sound of My Voice won a Grammy for Best Music Film. In the fall of 2022, she’ll release Feels Like Home: A Song for the Sonoran Borderlands, a book honoring her Mexican roots.
Azoff released a heartfelt statement about signing Ronstadt, who famously hired Don Henley and Glenn Frey as her backing band, leading them to form the Eagles in the early Seventies.
“In 1972 when I arrived in Los Angeles to pursue my dreams in the music business, as fate would have it, I soon thereafter became best friends and manager to Glenn Frey and Don Henley,” Azoff telling Rolling Stone. “Without Linda Ronstadt and John Boylan, there would have never been an Eagles. We were friends and family and grew up together, and what a ride it has been. The countless tours together with the Eagles and Linda and their collaborations are the backbone of the history of Southern California music.”
“For Linda and John to entrust us with the honor of furthering her work is one of the most satisfying moments of my career,” he continued. “Linda’s talent is unparalleled, but her courage and commitment to make important music of many genres is her legacy. We will preserve that legacy for her at all costs. Thank you, Linda and John. We won’t let you down.”
Added Ronstadt: “I’m very pleased about this partnership. It’s extremely gratifying to be in the company of Irving Azoff, his team, and his family of great artists, many of whom have been my friends and colleagues for years. It feels like home.”
Beth Collins and Susan Genco, co-presidents of the Azoff Company, spoke with Rolling Stone about the deal and Ronstadt’s role as a woman trailblazer.
“For someone who was so massively successful and could have exploited her power, she never forced anyone to give her publishing on songs, which she easily could have done,” Genco says. “It was really important to us that legacy to be preserved, especially as two women in the business. Beth and I both have teenage daughters and they need to know about Linda Ronstadt. They need to understand the barriers that she broke in addition to the beautiful songs that she brought to people. She was the Taylor Swift of her time.”
“There’s a lot of interest in publishing assets right now in songs and compositions,” she added. “Anyone who would have looked at Linda Ronstadt and said, ‘We’re not interested in that deal because it doesn’t include publishing,’ wouldn’t be the right home. We look at it and say, ‘It’s Linda fucking Ronstadt.’ For her to let us come in and help her, it says a lot. And we don’t take that trust lightly.”