MOJO Music Acquires Nashville’s HoriPro Entertainment Group

Mojo Music & Media, a new publishing and brand and legacy marketing company formed by Spirit Music Group founder Mark Fried, former Spirit SVP Peter Shane and former Ernst & Young executive Alan Wallis, has formally launched with the acquisition of Nashville-based HoriPro Entertainment Group.

The deal brings 15,000 songs, spanning 6 decades and reflecting more than 250 charted hits, including the collected works of ‘80s hit-makers REO Speedwagon, a 50 percent interest in the songs of hard rock pioneers KISS, the complete catalog of singer, songwriter and actor Jerry Reed and more than 25 hits and cuts by country legend George Strait, with whom the company has had a long relationship. Thanks to nearly 30 years of deals which saw HoriPro purchase such vaunted collections as Merit Music, Double J Music and Dick James Music’s Nashlon and Dejamus companies, the catalog boasts a trove of iconic songs chronicling the history of country music, including Top 10 singles by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Charly McClain, George Jones, Reba McEntire, Alabama, John Anderson, Diamond Rio, Gretchen Wilson, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean and The Band Perry, among others.

The company’s active writer roster, which includes Bart Butler, Joe Clemmons, Neil Medley, Sarah Allison Turner and Mike Walker, has turned in a steady stream of hits in recent years including Thomas Rhett’s “Make Me Wanna,” Sam Hunt’s “Make You Miss Me,” Kenny Chesney’s “The Boys Of Fall,” Jon Pardi’s “Head Over Boots” and “Heartache On The Dance Floor” and Rodney Atkins “Caught Up In The Country.”

With the deal, Mojo, which has offices in New York and London, opens its Nashville base in Berry Hill with former HoriPro executives Butch Baker (SVP Creative), Carrie Wilkins (VP Administration & Business Affairs) and song pluggers Keithan Melton and Courtney Crist, along with most of their support staff, continuing in their posts. The company has also appointed former HoriPro international executive Nobu Yamamoto to pursue new writer and catalog opportunities in Los Angeles and strengthen its presence in Japan and throughout Asia.

Mojo’s co-founders, Fried (CEO), Shane (CCO) and London-based Wallis (COO), a 30-year veteran of Ernst & Young’s valuation practice, opened doors in late 2017. Over the last year, the team concluded 11 publishing deals building a diverse catalog of hits and gems spanning eras and genres including the standards of Johnny Burke (“Misty,” “What’s New”) and Bernie Wayne (“Blue Velvet,” “Laughing On The Outside”) and the complete works of writer/artist Paul Evans (“Roses Are Red,” “When”), Stuart Weiner’s Wemar Music (“Pledging My Love,” “Castle Rock”), pioneering soul and rap writer/producer Bobby Robinson (“Need Your Lovin,” “Rockin’ It,” “Honey”), pop/folk artist Jud Strunk (“Daisy A Day”), writer/artist/Woodstock co-producer Artie Kornfeld (“The Pied Piper,” “Dead Man’s Curve,” “Rain The Park And Other Things”) and ‘90s soul artist/entrepreneur Joyce Irby (“I’d Still Say Yes,” “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg,” “Motownphilly”).

Fried and Shane, following two decades at Spirit during which they grew it into one of the leading independent publishing companies and compiled one of the strongest sync placement records in the industry, have already landed strategic licenses in a wide range of media including Universal‘s First Man, ABC’s The Goldbergs, CBS’ Young Sheldon, NBC’s This Is Us and Brooklyn-Nine-Nine, AMC’s The Walking Dead, FX‘s Snowfall and commercial campaigns for Mars, Walmart and Ford Motor Company.

In addition to offering a full suite of music publishing services, highlighted by transparent, real-time global royalty tracking and custom song and catalog promotion, Mojo is also a media company and will bring its songwriters and their teams together with writers, directors and distributors to produce a broad range of music-driven, brand-extending projects including books, films, theatricals, tribute albums, pop-up stores and installations, concert events and branded consumer products. The company will also work with clients to expand their digital footprint and drive greater engagement with fans via custom apps, curated playlists, podcasts, branded digital programming and social network initiatives.

According to Mark Fried, Mojo Music Founder and CEO, “I’m thrilled to be launching a new venture with driven, like-minded partners and surrounded by some of the best songs and songwriters on the planet.” He continued, “We aim to build a modern-day Brill Building, not only pitching songs and syncs like our lives depended on it but bringing our writers’ songs and stories to life across traditional and new media.”

Butch Baker, Mojo Music SVP said, “Mojo and HoriPro are a hand-in-glove fit! Anybody who knows us knows we’ve always been about our family of songs and songwriters. With Mojo, we now have the resources to super-serve them here in Nashville and take them beyond our borders into cross-genre co-writes, custom syncs and creative projects with tv, fim and new media producers all over the world.”

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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