CURB Records Acquires WMG’s Stake in Word Entertainment

Dear Colleagues,

I’m happy to share some great news with you. Yesterday we signed a deal with Curb Records in which Curb acquired WMG’s stake in Word Entertainment. I am pleased to say that this is one of those wonderful occasions when a good deal is a win for everyone involved.

WMG and Curb have been partners in Word since 2002, and this is the next logical step for this great label. Rod Riley is an incredible leader of the talented Word team, and he will continue as President and CEO, ensuring not just continuity but growth. In many other respects, the transition will be almost seamless: WMG will continue to distribute Word’s releases in the general market, Word will continue to distribute WMG’s releases in the Christian market and Warner/Chappell will continue to administer Word’s Publishing Catalog.

Curb will be an amazing home for this unique label, its artists, songwriters and employees, and I know I speak for many of us in Nashville when I say that I look forward to our ongoing collaboration with Rod, Mike Curb and the team. Ultimately, the move will strengthen both Curb and Word as leaders in faith-based entertainment, while enabling us to redouble our focus on our extraordinary Country talent.

Please take a moment to read the press release below that we issued today. If you have any questions, please let me or your HR representative know.

All the best,

Espo

 

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CURB RECORDS ACQUIRES WARNER MUSIC GROUP’S STAKE IN WORD ENTERTAINMENT

WMG to Continue Distributing Word’s Records in General Market; Word to Continue Distributing WMG’s Records in Christian Market; Warner/Chappell to Continue Administering Word’s Publishing Catalog   

Nashville, TN – March 2, 2016 – Curb Records and Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) today announced that Curb has acquired WMG’s stake in Word Entertainment, the Christian faith-based entertainment company based in Nashville. As a result, Word Entertainment has become a wholly owned division of Curb, expanding on the long partnership between Curb and WMG. Rod Riley, President and CEO of Word, will continue to run Word Entertainment. WMG will continue to distribute Word releases to the general market, and Word will continue to distribute WMG releases to the Christian market. Word’s publishing catalog will continue to be administered by Warner/Chappell.

Founded in 1951, Word Entertainment has grown into an artist services company active in recorded music, publishing, film, live events, and church resources. Word’s impressive roster of popular and influential artists and songwriters includes for KING & COUNTRY, the duo who won two Grammy awards in 2015, and Francesca Battistelli, who won Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song at this year’s Grammys.

Since 2002, Word Entertainment has been owned 80% by WMG and 20% by Curb. Under the terms of the transaction, Curb will purchase WMG’s share in Word’s recorded music, distribution, publishing, film, and live events divisions, as well as the company’s building in Nashville. The company’s printed music division remains jointly owned by WMG and Curb.

Curb Chairman and Word Chairman Mike Curb said “We are proud to continue our relationship with the Warner Music Group that started 50 years ago when my own musical group was signed by Warner Reprise and later signed by Word Records when it was still located in Waco, Texas and operated by its original founder Jarrell McCracken. We’ve had a long, successful relationship with Espo and Paul Robinson and more recently with Stephen Cooper, Cameron Strang, Matt Signore, Jeremy Sirota and Tom Marcotullio.  For almost 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as Chairman of Word Entertainment as well as being a minority shareholder in the company.  During that time I’ve had a chance to work with great leaders such as Jim Van Hook and that led to the merger of Word with Fervent Records, which was the label that was started by Rod and Susan Riley and it turned out to be the most important moment for the future of Word.  Rod Riley had led the transformation of Word into this century by developing some of the greatest contemporary Christian artists of our time.  We look forward to working with Rod for the future leadership as we bring together Word Entertainment, Fervent Records and Curb Records, which have all had a long history in contemporary Christian music.”

“It has been an honor for me to be part of the Word and Warner families for the past decade,” said Word Entertainment President & CEO Rod Riley, “and so I am excited that our companies will be continuing to work closely together. I am grateful to Espo for his support and collaboration as we worked to continue to transform Word both creatively and commercially. Mike Curb has simultaneously served as a wise and thoughtful mentor to me for more than a decade, and I am thrilled that Word and Curb will continue on our journey to take Christian music to new heights. Our mission remains constant – to continually serve our artists and songwriters while we forge new ground as one of the preeminent faith-based entertainment companies.”

“Mike Curb is a legend in our business, with over five decades of discovering outstanding talent and making great music,” said Warner Music Nashville President & CEO John Esposito. “Since Curb and WMG became partners in the ownership of Word 14 years ago, we have been at the forefront of the Christian Music movement. Rod is a tremendously talented, motivating leader, and I join him in saying how excited we are that we will remain partners. This move is a great opportunity for Word’s artists, songwriters, and employees, and the ongoing combination of our amazing teams ensures that Word’s future is very bright.”

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