Nat King Cole Estate Sells ‘A Broad Range of Rights’ to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group

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Nat King Cole in 1946. Photo Credit: LoC

Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group has officially purchased “a broad range of rights” from the Nat King Cole catalog.

Iconic Artists Group just recently announced this latest music-IP investment, which follows the company’s 2021 deals with David Crosby, Linda Ronstadt, and The Beach Boys. Iconic hasn’t shed light upon the newest transaction’s financial specifics or the precise rights at hand, though a piece published on Azoff-owned Oak View Group’s Pollstar relayed that the deal encompasses an interest in Nat King Cole’s “recorded music, publishing, television shows, and name and likeness.”

Montgomery, Alabama-born Nat King Cole has also been added to the artists section of Iconic’s website; the only other listed acts are those with whom the company closed deals in 2021, as mentioned, in a testament to stakeholders’ relatively new interest in catalogs.

During his decades-long career, the one-time Grammy winner (and seven-time nominee) Cole released well-known tracks including “The Very Thought of You,” “L-O-V-E,” “When I Fall In Love,” and “Unforgettable,” among a multitude of others. And regarding the aforementioned television programs of Cole, who passed away in 1965, the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame inductee hosted The Nat King Cole Show between 1956 and 1957, besides appearing several times on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, and The Jack Paar Program.

(Other deals involving the work of artists who rose to commercial prominence during the 20th century, such as Bing Crosby, also covered television projects, whereas different agreements yet, like that which Primary Wave closed with the James Brown estate, mentioned the possibility of releasing new TV programs down the line.)

The music of Nat King Cole currently boasts nearly five million monthly listeners on Spotify, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has sold over 50 million records to date. Addressing the deal in a statement, Iconic president Jimmy Edwards acknowledged plans “to ensure that his incomparable talent continues to be celebrated around the world.”

“Nat King Cole is undoubtedly one of the most popular and influential entertainers of all time, a true trailblazer, both musically and culturally. Iconic is proud to be the new home of Nat King Cole and we look forward to working closely with his family as well as Universal Music Group and his label, Capitol Records to ensure that his incomparable talent continues to be celebrated around the world,” said the former Warner Music Group exec Edwards.

And in a statement of their own, Cole’s twin daughters Timolin and Casey, who were born in 1961, said: “We’re delighted to entrust our father’s legacy to Irving Azoff and the team at Iconic. Through the years, it’s been amazing to see how dad’s music continues to inspire and bring people together, and with Iconic at the helm, we know his musical legacy will endure and continue to grow.”

Earlier this month, Primary Wave bought the catalogs of Regent Music and Jewel Music, and Hipgnosis Song Management acquired the 278-song catalog of “Hallelujah” songwriter Leonard Cohen.