Days before he’ll attend the Tony Awards as an original score nominee for “Shucked,” country music hitmaker Shane McAnally has announced that rights to much of his songwriting and producing catalog have been acquired by CTM Outlander, a company that has moved aggressively into publishing deals with a particular eye toward investing in renowned Nashville tunesmiths.
Also being picked up by CTM Outlander are songs by four writers in McAnally’s SMACKsongs stable: Josh Osbourne, Matt McGinn and Old Dominion members Matthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen. Additionally, the company will handle global administration for SMACKsongs and SMACKBlue publishing.
McAnally is the most nominated songwriter in CMA Awards history and has co-penned more than 50 No. 1 country hits. He’s worked as a writer and/or producer with artists including Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Morgan Wallen, Sam Hunt, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Reba McEntire, the Jonas Brothers and many others.
The deal includes all of the McAnally-co-written songs exploited since 2019 (he previously sold his songs published before that), plus go-forward rights to his future songs for the coming four years, starting this past Jan. 1. (It includes his portion of most of the songs he co-wrote with Brandy Clark for “Shucked,” excluding the dramatic rights.) All of his production rights, meanwhile, are included in the deal, even those predating 2019, up through the end of 2022. (The four-year go-ahead deal for McAnally’s songwriting is part of the agreement for his production rights.)
Although no figure is being publicly put on the deal, it’s the biggest publishing acquisition yet for CTM Outlander, which has committed to investing a billion dollars in song publishing and has already picked up the catalogs of Music Row writers like Natalie Hemby, Ben Burgess and Michael Tyler.
“Working with CTM brings in a great opportunity to partner with a truly innovative company that opens up other partnerships with other writers and keep our writers in-house,” Robert Carlton, the president of SMACK, tells Variety.
Carlton points to the fact that a London West End engagement for “Shucked” was just announced this week as evidence of McAnally’s potential for growth in multiple areas. “‘Shucked’ is gonna open up doors all over the world for Shane now going forward, too. We’re going to have many more productions of ‘Shucked,’ too. That (London) is just the first.”
Says Jason Turner, a lawyer who was one of several at Keller Turner Andrews & Ghanem who worked on the deal on behalf SMACK, “I would just add from my perspective that especially over the last nine months, the catalog landscape and market has changed, with interest rates going up and inflation, and companies like CTM Outlander are certainly at the forefront now of investing in marquee songwriters and independent publishers like SMACK. They do deals, they close deals and they’re honorable people. For me on behalf of Robert and Shane, it was an obvious fit just on a human level.”
Turner adds, “I dare say Shane right now is one of a kind. I don’t know of any other country songwriter/ record producer/TV show developer/Broadway musical author/record label operator/publishing company owner who exists. He literally checks every single one of the boxes; he really is a unicorn in Nashville.”
Said McAnally in a statement, “I am very excited to start this new partnership built on a mutual passion for all things music, along with the global reach of this incredible team. Andre is a visionary and understands the importance of managing music rights, as he has shown over the course of his career. As I continue to expand my creative work to new areas, Andre and his team recognize the passion I have, not just for creating music in the traditional sense, but also in areas of film, TV, Broadway and beyond. I am thankful to the CTM Outlander team for partnering with me to manage my catalog copyrights and am eager to see what we are able to accomplish together over the next several years.”
CTM Outlander is a joint effort between Dallas-based Outlander Capital, led by led by Les Ware and Mike McKool, and Netherlands-based CTM, owned by owned by André de Raaff and Jitze de Raaff.