Catalog cover

Frank Zappa’s Recordings, Song Catalog and More Acquired by Universal

Universal Music Group has announced an agreement with the family of Frank Zappa to acquire the recordings, publishing catalog, film archives, name and likeness of the legendary musician, as well as the contents of “The Vault”, the installation storage that houses his complete archives. The deal is between UMG and the Zappa Trust – comprising the musician’s children Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva Zappa – and spans his four-decade career. The agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed, extends a previous partnership and the assets will continue to be managed by the company’s recorded music catalog division, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) and Universal Music PublishingGroup.

A creator of musically complex and often eccentric works, Zappa has few precedents in the music business let alone in the multi-billion dollar, hit-obsessed music catalog gold rush of recent years: In the Middle from a sprawling discography that began in 1966, two of his singles reached (barely) the Billboard Top 50 and one of his 122 official albums went gold.

But his stimulating and often brilliant music is likely to be studied for decades, and ultimately he may be remembered more as a jazz or avant-garde musician than a rock musician. His song titles give an idea of ​​the music – “Watermelon in Easter Hay”, “Cosmik Debris”, “Peaches En Regalia”, “Uncle Remus” – and stylistically they range from orchestral compositions to songs of borderline novelty, like his two best-singles, 1983’s “Valley Girl” (sung by teenage Moon) and the 1979 disco parody “Dancin’ Fool”.

Zappa, who died in 1993 of prostate cancer at the age of 52, was a documentary filmmaker obsessed with his own work, and his vault contains a significant amount of previously unreleased material. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1997.

The Zappa Trust said: “Ten years ago, Gail Zappa partnered with UMe to bring Frank Zappa’s music into the digital age and help grow Frank Zappa’s business around the world, putting set in motion a successful partnership that has resulted in exponential growth. Together, over the past decade, we’ve made Frank’s vast catalog of music available for streaming and download, reissued many of his crucial albums on vinyl, created a host of exciting archival releases and massive box sets, including including a series celebrating FZ’s legendary Halloween concerts, and were nominated for a Grammy for the orchestral album ‘200 Motels (The Suites)’. UMG has more than proven its passion for Frank’s art and the entire Zappa family – Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva – are thrilled to hand over to the new stewards forever for all things Frank Zappa.

UMe President and CEO Bruce Resnikoff said, “It has been a privilege to work with the Zappa family to bring Frank Zappa’s music to the world, expand his audience and protect his legacy over the years. the last decade. Zappa was a pioneering and visionary artist who created incredible work and we are incredibly proud that Gail, and now her children, have entrusted her important legacy to us.

Marc Cimino, COO of UMPG, said: “A powerful voice in music and culture, Frank Zappa was one of the most brilliant artists of his time. We are honored to welcome Zappa’s catalog of influential songs and that his estate has chosen UMG to champion his artistry and develop his immense legacy around the world.