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UMG ACQUIRES ALL THINGS ZAPPA

Frank Zappa’s recordings, publishing catalog, film archive and the contents of his famous storage facility The Vault—basically every piece of cosmik debris from Zappa’s life—are now in the hands of Universal Music Group.

The deal with Zappa's children—Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva, aka the Zappa Trust—includes Frank Zappa’s name and likeness and allows Universal Music Enterprises and Universal Music Publishing Group to build on their already successful track record of working with the Zappa Trust to amplify Frank’s career as a trailblazer, iconoclast, brilliant musician and fearless artist.

“Ten years ago, Gail Zappa partnered with UMe to bring Frank Zappa’s music into the digital era and help expand the Frank Zappa business around the world, setting in motion a fruitful partnership that has resulted in exponential growth,” the Zappa Trust said in a statement. “Together over the last decade we made Frank’s vast catalog of music available for streaming and download, reissued many of his pivotal albums on vinyl, created a slew of exciting archival releases and expansive boxed sets, including a series celebrating FZ’s legendary Halloween concerts, and were nominated for a Grammy for the 200 Motels (The Suites) orchestral album.

“UMG has more than proven its passion for Frank’s art and so the entire Zappa family—Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva—is thrilled to pass the baton to the new forever stewards for all things Frank Zappa.”

In 2012 Zappa Records and the Zappa Trust—headed by Frank's widow, Gail—made Zappa’s entire recorded catalog available digitally for the first time through a partnership with UMe. Shortly thereafter, UMe secured a global license and distribution deal from the trust that saw the release of 60 of Zappa’s recordings.

In 2015, the partners collaborated on a long-term, global licensing agreement for Zappa’s entire recorded catalog, as well as rights-management participation for the rest of his creative canon. The partnership grew into an expansive license with Bruce Resnikoff-led UMe that also included new product releases, trademark licensing, film and theatrical production.

To date, there have been 122 official Zappa releases, which only scratches the surface of what remains in Zappa’s expansive and exhaustive Vault. UMG plans to dive into The Vault for new archival projects for decades to come. Additionally, with Zappa’s name and likeness, UMG will work on new merchandise, feature films and interactive experiences, as well as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other Web3 projects.

Frank Zappa died in 1993, about three weeks shy of his 53rd birthday.

“Zappa was a pioneering, visionary artist who created an incredible body of work and we are incredibly proud that Gail, and now his children, have entrusted us with his important legacy,” Resnikoff said. “It has been a privilege to work with the Zappa family to release Frank Zappa’s music around the world, grow his audience and protect his legacy for the past decade.

“We will continue to develop innovative ways to celebrate his vast and influential catalog for both longtime fans and those just discovering his genius. As a prolific artist well ahead of his time, Frank Zappa was constantly creating and recording and he left behind a treasure trove of extraordinary still-unreleased music and video in his Vault that will help us usher in the next era of Frank Zappa fans. Now stop saying we’re only in it for the money.”

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