Another of Minnesota's Grammy-winning songwriters has sold the rights to his tunes to a new publishing company.
Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson — who has also co-written songs with Adele, the Chicks, Taylor Swift and other platinum-selling artists — followed the lead of Bob Dylan and cashed in on his song publishing during what seems to be a hot market for such deals.
Publishing deals were also announced in recent weeks by handlers for Neil Young and Stevie Nicks. The latter sold hers to the same company that bought up Wilson's trove of songs, New York-based Primary Wave Music Publishing, which announced its purchase of the Wilson canon late last week.
"The musical art that Dan has created as a songwriter is undeniable," Primary Wave president Justin Shukat said in a statement. "His work has been enjoyed by fans around the world through both the lens of his own band, Semisonic, as well as through the voices of the countless artists he's collaborated with and written for."
A dollar amount with the deal was not revealed. It undoubtedly wasn't anywhere near the $300-$400 million estimated to be taken in by Dylan last month, but a sizable payday could be expected for a catalog that includes songs on albums by some of the top-selling artists of the 21st century.
Wilson has — as politely as always — declined to comment on his decision to sell.
His song publishing is not his only major property up for sale: The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Wilson's hillside Sherman Oaks home has been listed for $2.5 million, about $1 million more than he and his wife Diane Espaldon paid for it a decade ago after they left Minneapolis for the West Coast with their two daughters.
News of the publishing sale has already earned sizable write-ups from industry trade publications such as Variety as well as Rolling Stone; another sign it was a fairly big deal.
Besides his own bands' material, the list of Wilson songs bought by Primary Wave also includes: three co-writes on Adele's "21" record, including the megahit "Someone Like You;" six songs with the Chicks, including the Grammy Awards' 2007 song of the year "Not Ready to Make Nice;" two tracks on Swift's "Red" album; Dierks Bentley's country-chart topper "Home;" Weezer's "California Kids;" plus songs with Josh Groban, John Legend, Pink, Chris Stapleton, Celine Dion, Halsey, Phantogram, Panic! at the Disco and many more.
Unlike 79-year-old Dylan and many of the other older performers selling their songs of late, the St. Louis Park native should still have many years left to write, record and perform. So the decision maybe had less to do with estate planning — which Prince's siblings will tell you is sort of important — and was simply more about cashing in while demand for such deals is up.
Or maybe Wilson, 59, feels like he's just getting started. He will still own all future songs not already included in this deal. Perhaps he's that confident there's plenty more to come.
This optimistic outlook jibes with what he told his hometown newspaper about putting out Semisonic's first new music in 19 years last summer despite the COVID-19 lockdown, a five-song EP named after the timely lead-off track "You're Not Alone."
"I try not to make decisions where I'm betting on scarcity of ideas," Wilson said.
"So when we have a great EP like this and we can put it out this year — even though there are no tours and who knows what could happen — why wait a year? I'd rather think: There's more music to make, more songs to write, so let's just put this EP out now just on the principle there are going to be more ideas."
In other words — wait for it! — it's probably nowhere near closing time for this prolific songwriter.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658