Home Business Chuck D sells catalog to Reach Music, three years after suing the indie publisher for allegedly withholding royalties

Chuck D sells catalog to Reach Music, three years after suing the indie publisher for allegedly withholding royalties

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Chuck D sells catalog to Reach Music, three years after suing the indie publisher for allegedly withholding royalties


US rapper Chuck D, who co-founded hip-hop group Public Enemy in 1985, has sold his song catalog of over 300 titles to Reach Music Publishing.

Reach Music on Tuesday (September 13) announced that it is acquiring 50% of copyright ownership interest and 100% of the writer’s share, including global administration rights, to Chuck D’s catalog.

As the chief songwriter of Public Enemy, Chuck D co-wrote nearly all of Public Enemy’s songs including Fight The Power, Bring The Noise, Welcome to the Terrordome, Shut ‘Em Down, and He Got Game.

For more than 20 years, Reach Music and its affiliate Reach Global have been the music publisher and rights administration company for Chuck D.

Through this new deal, Reach has purchased Chuck‘s copyright ownership interests that were previously administered by Reach, including the full songwriter’s share, which Reach will continue to administer worldwide. 

The purchase covers Chuck D’s songwriting contributions to Public Enemy albums during the group’s 25-year run from 1987 to 2012 including Public Enemy’s 1987 debut album Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987), and other notable albums such as It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), Fear of a Black Planet (1990), and Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Black (1991).

The deal comes roughly three years after Chuck D sued Reach Music Publishing and its president, Michael Closter, as well as Terrordome Music Publishing (which Closter established), for $1 million in damages for allegedly withholding “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of his royalties, Billboard reported at the time.

“[Closter] created a complex master plan that involved, and still involves, unconscionable contracts, hidden transactions, false and fraudulent copyright registrations, and false incomplete accountings,” the complaint read, alleging that Reach and Closter deprived Chuck D “of the fruits of his artistic endeavors and caused him damages in excess of One Million Dollars, including the loss of a substantial portion of his music publishing catalog.”

Reach Music, founded by Closter in New York, now operates offices in Los Angeles and Nashville.

Its affiliate Reach Global administers and publishes the catalogs of artists including John Mayer, Lisa Loeb, Public Enemy, Young Fyre, Zac Brown, Common, Danzig, Warren G, The Knack, and Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest.

The company in late 2020 acquired the publishing catalog of Keith Shocklee, an American record producer and DJ who was an original member of Public Enemy.

The acquisition included 40 songs that Shocklee wrote for Public Enemy, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, 3rd Bass, Prophets Of Rage, The Prodigy and others.

“There’s no one more consequential in the world of Hip-Hop than Chuck D, and he has written iconic and impactful songs that will forever be a part of music history.”

Michael Closter, Reach Music Publishing

Commenting on the deal, Closter said: “I’m so grateful to Chuck for our business together as his music publisher throughout these many decades.”

“There’s no one more consequential in the world of Hip-Hop than Chuck D, and he has written iconic and impactful songs that will forever be a part of music history.

“The team at Reach will continue working hard to protect these works while also introducing them to new generations to come.”

“Mike Closter and everyone at Reach have been handling my song catalog for well over 20 years, and doing this deal was the right timing for a forward and logical evolution of our business together in an ever changing industry.”

Chuck D

Chuck D added: “Mike Closter and everyone at Reach have been handling my song catalog for well over 20 years, and doing this deal was the right timing for a forward and logical evolution of our business together in an ever changing industry.”

“Reach has always been ahead of the curve on establishing respect for the HipHop genre songwriting and publishing-wise, and they will continue taking care of my works.”Music Business Worldwide



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