Universal Music Group International Chairman Lucian Grainge and Andrew Lloyd Webber this week announce two deals that open a new chapter in the long-standing relationship between the UK’s leading record company and The Really Useful Group.
The first deal gives Universal Music exclusive worldwide digital and mobile rights to the entire catalogue of Lloyd Webber songs, one of the most enduring bodies of work in popular music.
From this week (14th August), songs from the acclaimed new London production of Evita will be made available online by Universal Music alongside the physical release of the cast album. The remainder of the classic Lloyd Webber catalogue – including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, ‘Starlight Express and the multi-million selling The Phantom of the Opera – will be available to download from 22nd August. Many of the songs will also be made available as realtones for mobile phones over the coming months.
A further deal will see Universal Music release the album for the forthcoming West End production of The Sound Of Music, which will feature the winner of the hit BBC TV show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?
More than £3.5m worth of tickets have already been sold for Lloyd Webber’s production of the legendary musical which opens at the London Palladium in November. The television series to find an unknown singer to play Maria Von Trapp is the brainchild of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the first programme broadcast on Saturday 29th July attracted over five million viewers.
Universal Music and Andrew Lloyd Webber have enjoyed a relationship since the release of the original Jesus Christ Superstar concept album in 1970. Over 30 million singles and albums have been sold worldwide since then, including 1.4million copies of the London cast recording of The Phantom of The Opera in the UK alone.
Lucian Grainge says: “This deal brings the biggest and best-loved musicals of all time into the digital age. I have also been reminded of Andrew’s magic touch – his idea to bring The Sound of Music to the West End via a TV talent search is a masterstroke. We’re very excited to be involved.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber says: “I am delighted to be able to announce these significant deals between the Really Useful Group and Universal Music and thrilled that my entire catalogue can now be downloaded (I say this although the bulk of my own music collection is on vinyl!)”
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