The BBC has sold the rights to theme tunes and music from hit shows including Idris Elba’s Luther, Doctor Who and Wolf Hall.
BMG, the music company with artists including David Bowie, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and Iron Maiden, has snapped up the potentially highly lucrative rights to more than 1,000 copyrights to theme tunes, background music and music cues in BBC shows.
BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, only looks to sell the music rights to shows once every five or so years when it has built a decent archive of music from more recent shows.
Under the terms of the deal, BMG has acquired the rights to theme tunes from hit BBC programmes including Luther, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Frozen Planet as well as background, or incidental, music from Doctor Who and Wolf Hall. The catalogue includes works by Bafta-nominated composers including Murray Gold, for Doctor Who, Paul Englishby for Luther and Debbie Wiseman for Wolf Hall.
But apparently then, not the Theme by Ron Grainer & Delia Derbyshire.
Alexi Cory-Smith, the executive vice-president of BMG UK, said: “It is a real honour to be entrusted with these great BBC works. Shows like Luther, Doctor Who and Mrs Brown’s Boys and many others in this catalogue are household names. We are committed to providing them with similarly unrivalled service and transparency.”
While BMG will now have the right to exploit the music for commercial use by companies including advertisers, studios and ad agencies, the BBC will retain a tight rein on ensuring its assets are not exploited negatively. BBC Worldwide has a similar brand protection in place in its deal with Immediate Media, which publishes its portfolio of magazines including Radio Times and Top Gear, with the corporation continuing to have brand oversight of its key assets.
“We’re looking forward to working with BMG to ensure the value of these compositions continues to be properly and appropriately recognised,” said Dominic Walker, the director of radio and music at BBC Worldwide.
BMG owns a range of music catalogues including Chrysalis, which includes artists such as Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gossip and David Gray, and Virgin Music, which includes publishing rights for Tears for Fears, Take That, Robbie Williams, Nirvana, Duffy and Iggy Pop.