A music publisher specializing in the music of modern artists is taking a stab at re-popularizing one of the most classic catalogues in American music history. SONGS Music Publishing announced that it had acquired the exploitation rights to the music of George Gershwin from the Godowsky family and Heyward Memorial Fund.
Gershwin wrote some of the most lasting music in American history, including the jazz-classical standard "Rhapsody In Blue," pop standard "Summertime" and music for the opera Porgy and Bess. All of these have remained sources of return and inspiration for jazz and classical musicians, but SONGS aims to reintroduce Gershwin's work into the mainstream.
Those plans include heavy marketing to Hollywood, aiming to get the classics placed in the soundtracks to modern films, plus a series of recordings featuring modern musicians taking stabs at Gershwin's classics. That idea packs some loaded potential: Lorde, Sleigh Bells or the Monsters of Folk could all turn out excellent covers, and Diplo or DJ Mustard could create interesting remixes of classic instrumental compositions.
SONGS knew the right people when it came to securing the rights. CEO Matt Pincus is a friend of Gershwin/Godowsky trustee Jon Keidan. The latter individual suggested that SONGS' lineup of performers had the best potential for refreshing Gershwin's influence in the modern age.
"We could have taken this catalog of songs to any one of a number of major publishers," Keidan said. "But the team that Matt has assembled at SONGS are young, creative and determined, and they understand how to best market these songs, particularly in our digital industry. We feel their energy will breathe new life into these works to ensure that they live on for many generations to come."