UK-headquartered Cutting Edge Media Music (CEMM) has been one of the most active buyers of film and TV music rights over the past few years.

In 2022, it partnered with affiliates of London-based Blantyre Capital in a deal that secured $125 million for acquisitions of music publishing rights from composers who write music for film and TV.

With those funds now fully deployed, earlier this year CEMM secured another $100 million from banks led by Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners.

Now CEMM is stepping into the world of pop music, striking a deal with prominent songwriter and producer Jamie Hartman, who’s written or co-written numerous hits for artists such as Lewis Capaldi, Celeste, Calvin Harris, Rag’n’Bone Man and the Backstreet Boys, among many others.

CEMM says it “will purchase the majority of Hartman’s back catalog royalties”, published through his deal with Reservoir Media, which includes hundreds of songs he’s written and collaborated on with artists including Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Calvin Harris, Kygo and Lewis Capaldi as well as songs for commercials, TV and film written with artists such as Carole King, Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera.

MBW understands that CEMM has bought the majority of Hartman’s writers’ share. Hartman continues to be published by Reservoir.

The deal was done on Hartman’s behalf by Milk & Honey Music’s Peter Coquillard and Lucas Keller, Hartman’s longtime managers.

The deal “represents a key move by CEMM to expand its reach beyond primarily instrumental composers and engage strategically with songwriters in the pop realm and other genres to capitalize on unique opportunities advantageous to both parties,” CEMM said in a statement.

MBW understands that the deal tipped into the eight-figure realm.

Hartman’s work straddles the Top 40 music scene and film and TV scores. He co-wrote Rag’n’Bone Man’s 2016 mega-hit Human, as well as Rag’n’Bone Man’s collab with Calvin Harris, Giant.

He also co-wrote and co-produced the Backstreet Boys’ 2018 hit Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. More recently, he wrote two songs on Lewis Capaldi’s 2019 album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, and also has a cut on Heavenly Kind of State of Mind from Capaldi’s new album, Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent.

Elsewhere, he co-wrote and co-produced many of the songs on Celeste’s 2021 debut album, Not Your Muse, including Stop This Flame, which was chosen as the theme song for Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage, and also appeared in a Peloton ad.

Hartman’s film and TV credits include My Loyal Brave and True, from Disney’s Mulan, which was performed by Christina Aguilera; The Measure of a Man from 20th Century Studios’ The King’s Man, performed by FKA Twigs; and Here I Am Singing My Way Home, from the aretha Franklin biopic Respect, performed by Jennifer Hudson and Carole King.

In the wake of the deal, Hartman continues to have hits with the likes of the track Fought and Lost, co-written by Hartman and performed by Sam Ryder (which appeared in the penultimate episode of Apple TV+ hit comedy Ted Lasso), and with Dancing is Healing by Charlotte Plank, Rudimental, and Vibe Chemistry.

Hartman has won multiple BMI Pop Awards, Ivor Novello Awards, Brit Awards, and a Music Week Award.

“I am very proud of those songs, written over 30 years, and to have Cutting Edge echo that sentiment, and to be working on behalf of those songs alongside my long-term publishers Reservoir and their team, is fantastic,” Hartman said in a statement.

“This endeavor represents an exciting expansion of our company’s scope and we are honored to be working alongside the extraordinarily talented Jamie Hartman,” said Philip Moross, CEO of Cutting Edge Group, the parent company of CEMM.

Launched in the early 2000s, Cutting Edge operates as a financier, publisher, and record label. Its divisions include Lakeshore Records (a soundtrack label), Music.Film (a film and TV music licensing platform), Broadway Records (a musical theater label), Cutting Edge Music Publishing (a music publisher), 12on12 (specialty vinyl), White Stork (a custom music house) and CEG Analytics (royalty tracking & analysis).

It has so far provided a range of music services to over 1,000 feature films, TV shows, musical theater productions and video games, including the TV shows Stranger Things, Bridgerton, Star Trek: Discovery and The Walking Dead.

Films have included Drive, Fury, John Wick and Sicario, while major video games have included Sunset Overdrive, Assassins Creed Valhalla, Red Dead Redemption and Cyberpunk 2077. Its theatrical works have included such Broadway shows as Matilda, The Color Purple, Anastasia, and My Fair Lady.

Earlier this year, Cutting Edge announced a new joint venture with Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, parent company of Village Roadshow Pictures and Village Roadshow Television.

The deal covers all of VREG’s past and future music publishing assets, soundtrack album releases and music supervision services, as well as VREG’s music assets for film and scripted and unscripted television.

Among CEMM’s recent deals is the acquisition of a “major film music catalog” from UK-headquartered First Score Music Ltd., which included full master and publishing rights to more than 75 “premium” film scores.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but a source told MBW that the deal was worth in the high seven figures.

Tim Hegarty, CEMM’s Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, added: “We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Jamie’s award-winning catalog, which bridges audio and visual media. We see a huge scope to build on Jamie’s existing reputation in film and TV, and look forward to partnering with his team on new opportunities in the future.

“This marks a new chapter for CEMM as we look to ally with world renowned songwriters who are looking to expand their profile in the motion picture industry.”

Music rights acquisitions have become a booming business in recent years, with some $5 billion in transactions in 2021 alone, and film and TV rights are a major part of that.

Full article available via Music Business Worldwide here.