Leaked emails obtained in the Sony megahack show that the media and tech giant considered selling off its music publishing wing Sony/ATV. The division is largely a marriage of Michael Jackson’s ATV publishing and Sony getting 50% of the company in 1995.
The primary reason mentioned for dropping the music publishing division is that the entire wing has become costly and has very little potential for growth. If any entity managed to obtain Sony’s music wing, it would have the biggest catalog of tunes featuring some of the most popular and legendary acts past and present: the Beatles, Beyoncé, Bob Dylan, Def Leppard, Destiny’s Child, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, and Michael Jackson to name a few.
The emails show that the executives heading up the project were Sony Corporation of America President Nicole Seligman and CFO Steve Kober as well as Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Concerns from higher ups in Japan about streaming increasing music’s role in entertainment was a contributing factor to the decision to potentially sell the division.
As it stands, dropping the music wing could give the company breathing room as the mobile and film wings have been pointed to as reasons for Sony’s performance. Mobile as seen as having a lot of potential for growth and just last year there were requests from an investor to ditch the movie making wing of the company.
A point of interest is that internal emails leaked in the hack also showed a general displeasure about the direction and variety in the film wing. Company execs wish to catch lightning and churn money with more epic film types and film series—Harry Potter, Lord of Rings, Star Wars, comic book movies in general—and fewer biopics and Adam Sandler films, but seem stuck a few movies that may hit and the Spider-Man franchise.