How Marty Got His Mojo Working

Marty Bandier, who has just confirmed that he’ll be leaving the top post at Sony/ATV next March, didn’t enter the music business until he was 34, but he made up for lost time, as this excerpt from History of the Music Biz Vol. 3: The Rainmakers recounts.

After graduating Brooklyn Law School in 1965 and working at a New York law firm for four years, Bandier became General Counsel to the LeFrak Organization, a real-estate-development company headed by Samuel LeFrak, his father-in-law at the time.

In 1975, Bandier made his first big play in the music business, forming The Entertainment Company with LeFrak colleague and industry veteran Charles Koppelman. The production and publishing company was responsible for such Top 10 hits as Barbra Streisand’s “My Heart Belongs to Me,” Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” and Diana Ross’ “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.”

In 1984, Bandier and Koppelman dissolved their partnership with LeFrak and formed the Entertainment Music Company and the Entertainment Television Company. The partners set out to buy song catalogs. They bid on ATV Music, which held the rights to The Beatles’ music—but lost out to Michael Jackson, who bought the company for $47.5 million in 1985. Bandier and Koppelman had reportedly put in a higher bid, but Jackson was prepared to close the deal more quickly, which proved to be the deciding factor.

In 1986, the partners purchased the Combine Music catalog (best known for Kris Kristofferson’s classics) from Monument Records. That same year, Bandier and Koppelman teamed with financier Stephen C. Swid to form the investor group SBK Entertainment World. They purchased the CBS Songs catalog for the record-setting price of $125 million.

“That was a dazzling acquisition, because it changed the way everyone in the financial community viewed the value of owning musical copyrights,” entertainment attorney Freddie Gershon told The New York Times.

The SBK principals more than doubled their money when they sold SBK’s song catalog to Thorn EMI in 1989 for $295 million. As part of the deal, Koppelman and Bandier formed a partnership with EMI Music Worldwide to create their own record label, SBK Records. Bandier was named President and Chief Operating Officer of the record company and Vice Chairman of the combined publishing company, EMI Music Publishing. Koppelman was Chairman/CEO of the label and Chairman of EMI Music Publishing, making him Bandier’s boss.

SBK Records became one of the hottest start-up labels in music history. Vanilla Ice’s To the Extreme shipped 7 million copies in the U.S., per the RIAA. Wilson Phillips’ self-titled debut album shipped 5 million. The latter project received five Grammy noms, including Album of the Year.

In 1991, Bandier and Koppelman sold their share of SBK Records to EMI Music, making EMI the sole owner of the label. Bandier moved up to Chairman and CEO of EMI Music Publishing, while Koppelman segued to EMI Records Group North America. He was CEO of that company until 1997, when he left the music industry.

In 1997, EMI purchased a 50% stake of Jobete Music Co. for $132 million in what Bandier described as one of the most challenging deals he has ever done.

“[That] was a trial by fire,” he said. “[Berry Gordy Jr.] was very concerned about his babies—not just the songs he wrote, but Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder and Holland-Dozier-Holland. He said ‘You’ve gotta sell those people on why you would make a difference.’ I was able to do that, but it was not an easy task… Finally, I said, ‘Why don’t you just sell half the company to me and I’ll make the other half worth twice the amount?’ He’s a pretty smart guy, and he said, ‘I’ll take that deal.’” EMI Music later acquired another 30% of Jobete, giving it an 80% share in the company.

At the time, Bandier called the Jobete acquisition the highlight of his career. “It’s the greatest American body of music produced during the 20th century,” he asserted. But there were more than a few career highlights to come.

Super-attorney John Branca, who would be closely involved in several of those highlights, has this to say about his longtime friend and colleague:

“I suspect we will not have seen the end of the career of Marty Bandier, the Chairman of the music-publishing industry, when he steps down from Sony/ATV in March of next year. Marty has had a historic run going back decades, with a record of unsurpassed accomplishments. Hail to the chief!”

Max names his heir. (12/9a)
It's "Adore"-able. (12/9a)
They got a name for the winners in the world. (12/9a)
Meet the new boss. (12/9a)
Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it. (12/9a)
Ours is mostly bourbon.
Delicious in salads.
Ours are roasting, but it could be these slim-fit jeans.
An entire Christmas tree made of it. Is what we want. for Christmas.

 First Name

 Last Name


Captcha: (type the characters above)