Atlas Publishing Acquires Combustion Catalog, Opens Nashville Office

Richard Stumpf (L) and Chris Farren.

Richard Stumpf (L) and Chris Farren.

Atlas Music Publishing has acquired the catalog of one of Nashville music’s most successful independent music publishers, Combustion Music, it was announced today by Atlas CEO Richard Stumpf and Combustion Music owner/President Chris Farren. The deal marks the opening of Atlas Music Publishing’s Nashville offices and launches a long-term joint venture with Combustion Music under the banner Combustion Atlas.

Through the deal, Atlas Music Publishing will acquire a publishing interest in hit songs including No. 1s: “Crash My Party” “That’s My Kind of Night” and “Play It Again” by Luke Bryan; “Bottoms Up” by Brantley Gilbert; “Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood; “Hello, My Name Is” and “Strong Enough” by Matthew West; “Beer Money” by Kip Moore; “Hey Girl” by Billy Currington; “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” by Randy Houser; “Don’t Ya” by Brett Eldredge; “Mr. Know It All” by Kelly Clarkson; “Rewind” by Rascal Flatts; and “I Hold On” by Dierks Bentley.

Combustion will continue its relationship with Ashley Gorley, songwriter of 16 No. 1 Country hits. Gorley was named Billboard’s 2013 Country Music Songwriter of the Year and has written or co-written over 100 songs recorded by over 50 artists, including Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night,” Randy Houser’s “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight,” Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This,” and three cuts on the new Dustin Lynch album Where It’s At.

Combustion will continue to represent the catalogs of Blair Daly, and Brett James. Daly has three cuts on the new Tim McGraw album Sundown Heaven Town and is co-writer of songs including “Beer Money,” Rascal Flatts No. 1 song “Stand,” and mega hit crossover “Smile” by Uncle Kracker. James has 17 No. 1 singles, a Grammy win for “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” and is co-writer of Dierks Bentley’s “I Hold On” and the current Miranda Lambert/Carrie Underwood smash “Somethin’ Bad.”

The new Combustion Atlas roster will include Gorley, Zach Crowell, Matt Jenkins, Jerry Flowers, Bobby Huff, and Native Run.

VP Chris Van Belkom, and Senior Creative Kenley Flynn will remain on board.

Zach Crowell and Jenkins are co-writers on the No. 1 Dustin Lynch song “Where It’s At.” Crowell co-wrote “Strong” for the 2014 National Chevy Silverado campaign, and co-wrote five songs on Sam Hunt’s upcoming Montevallo, which he also produced. Matt Jenkins is co-writer of Keith Urban’s single “Cop Car,” Blake Shelton’s “Good Country Song,” and has cuts on the new Sam Hunt LP. Jerry Flowers has two songs on Hunt’s LP and has had songs recorded by Lady Antebellum, Keith UrbanMartina McBride, and Carrie Underwood. Bobby Huff has success in both the rock and country landscapes, co-wrote Reba McEntire’s “Turn On the Radio,” and has production and writing credits with 3 Doors Down and Papa Roach. Native Run (Rachel Beauregard and Bryan Dawley) are making waves at radio with their debut release “Good On You.”

“Nashville is without question one of the most important writer towns in the US. We wanted to make a major commitment to the songwriting community here and enter Nashville in the right way—this collaboration with Chris and the Combustion team does just that,” said Atlas’s Stumpf. “The songs in the Combustion catalog are standouts and writers on our roster here are continuously booked with major label artists. We are excited to include these writers in the Atlas new paradigm of music publishing—a mindset built on (1) an authentic, hands on partnership with songwriters, (2) unlocking new paths of consumer discovery for our artists and (3) embracing the industry’s digital future through techniques that maximize song value on streaming services like Spotify and Youtube. Our Nashville roster is going to get a push like they’ve never felt before. It’s going to get very exciting, very quickly!”

“All of us at Combustion couldn’t be happier to be partnering with Atlas Music,” said Combustion’s Farren. “The history and resources they present and their commitment to and belief in Combustion have set us up to meet this next era of music publishing with strength, creativity and agility. Both Richard and I come from a like-minded independent spirit of building a publishing company, and I look forward to many years of success together.”

Founded in 2001, Combustion Music is headed by owner/President Farren. Since 2009, Combustion has earned 19 No. 1 singles in four genres and cuts on LPs totaling 100 million in sales. Among their accomplishments are the 2006 ASCAP and GRAMMY Country Song of the Year “Jesus, Take the Wheel;” the 2009 Grammy Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, and Record of the Year for “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon; 2009 ASCAP Country Song of the Year “You’re Gonna Miss This;” 2009 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year Ashley Gorley; and the 2013 ASCAP Christian Song, “Hello My Name Is” and Songwriter of the Year Matthew West.

Stumpf founded Atlas Music Publishing in 2013, which has a roster of hit-makers and represents songs performed by John Legend, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Luke Bryan, Keyshia Cole, Hillary Duff, Icona Pop, Prince Royce, and Colbie Caillat. The company’s global headquarters is in New York.

The deal was negotiated with the help of The Sukin Law Group and Greenberg Traurig.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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