Andrew Lloyd Webber has launched a global licensing and rights management company that aims to compete with Cameron Mackintosh’s own Music Theatre International.
The new venture, called The Musical Company, sees Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group join forces with US company Concord Bicycle Music, with TMC acting as the “exclusive agent” to manage and license all Lloyd Webber’s shows, including The Phantom of the Opera and Cats.
As part of the tie-up, TMC will also manage the works of composer Marvin Hamlisch, which have previously been overseen by Concord Bicycle Music. TMC will manage Hamlisch shows such as A Chorus Line and Sweet Smell of Success.
RUG’s new managing director director Max Alexander explained to The Stage that the new company presented an opportunity to “build a substantial business that represents not only our own catalogue but the works of other artists, both established and new”.
He said that, having had his publishing rights returned to him recently, Lloyd Webber had met with Concord Bicycle Music as part of discussions about the future representation of his work. Previously, licensing company Rodgers and Hammerstein managed Lloyd Webber’s rights in North America, with licensing in the UK being carried out by RUG.
Both RUG and Concord saw a chance to “take control back of these incredibly valuable rights” and to use them as “a foundation stone for building a business that emulates MTI”, Alexander said.
As part of the business, Sean Patrick Flahaven has been named founding chief executive of TMC. Flahaven was formally senior vice president of theatre at Warner/Chappell. He will be tasked with identifying catalogues of work and for acquiring secondary rights for new musicals “as they come to Broadway or the West End”, said Alexander.
He added that TMC would be selective about the works it takes on and acknowledged that this would put it in competition with MTI.
“We have an excellent relationship with Cameron and partner on many projects and support one another. But inevitably they are two business that are seeking to represent the same catalogue of work, with the same set of customers. It will be done in the spirit of healthy competition,” he said.
Concord Bicycle Music currently manages the songs of artists including Paul McCartney, Miles Davis and Tony Bennett.
As part of the venture, Concord will manage all of Lloyd Webber’s original songs worldwide, including Memory and All I Ask of You.