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Nat King Cole estate sell musician’s later recordings to Universal Music

By | Published on Friday 18 March 2022

Nat King Cole

Prior to its deal with Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group which was announced last week, the Nat King Cole estate sold a stack of the late musician’s recordings to Universal Music, it has now emerged.

Cole had a career-long relationship with Capitol Records, which was acquired by Universal when it bought the EMI record company back in 2012. However, in the latter part of his career a by then famous Cole negotiated a deal with Capitol that allowed him to retain the rights in his later recordings, which he then licensed back to the label.

According to Forbes, the estate sold those rights to Universal in a deal worth somewhere between $10 million and $20 million. It means all of Cole’s recordings catalogue of around 400 tracks now belongs to the major.

The estate’s deal with the Iconic Artists Group does give that company an interest in Cole’s music rights too, though that’s presumably a royalty right on the recordings side, allowing it to collect any artist royalties due on the Universal controlled recordings. Iconic will also manage Cole’s image and legacy.

Back at Universal, it has also announced the release of a new Cole rarities collection which includes five recordings that have never been available to stream before, including ‘The Magic Tree’, ‘Early American’, ‘The Day Isn’t Long Enough’, ‘My First And My Last Love’ and ‘Easter Sunday Morning’.