Motown writers cash in royalties

LEGENDARY Motown songwriters Holland/Dozier/Holland do indeed know "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved You". They have just signed a deal that turns the royalties from songs like that into a cool pounds 60m loan.

The songwriters, brothers Edward and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, wrote classic soul songs such as the Supremes' "Stop in the Name of Love" and the Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Loving". They have now cashed in their future earnings from the use of their back catalogue in the kind of deal pioneered by David Bowie last year.

Bowie made himself pounds 33m by selling bonds on Wall Street that gave the bearers a share of his future earnings from songs like "Jean Jeanie" and "Space Odyssey".

Many ageing rockers with large back catalogues are known to have looked at making the same kind of move with the securities company who invented the bonds, Fahenstock & Co. Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and others have all been linked to such deals, but the Motown trio is the first to sign a deal.

Despite the attractiveness of "Bowie Bonds", they actually provide quite a low-return, low risk-investment for buyers and there is thought to a fairly limited market for them.

The value of the Holland/Dozier/Holland deal is thought to be based on the fact that EMI Music last year bought into Jobete Music, the company owned by Motown founder Berry Gordy, and will be more aggressively exploiting its back catalogue by getting songs used in films and adverts.

The trio also wrote for Barbra Streisand and Steve Winwood, but they became famous at Motown for being able to turn out a tune over breakfast, then two more at lunch for the Detroit-based hit-machine.

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