Tom Petty Hits to Be Administered By Warner Chappell in New Worldwide Deal With Estate

Tom Petty‘s estate and Warner Chappell Music announced a new worldwide administration deal on Monday (July 1), covering what’s described as the “vast majority of songs” dotting his long and winding catalog, including his decades fronting the Heartbreakers and as a solo tunesmith.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, covers dozens of Heartbreakers-backed songs including “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl” and “Even the Losers” off the band’s commercial breakthrough, Damn the Torpedoes, along with all-timers like “The Waiting,” “Learning to Fly” and Mary Jane’s Last Dance” off later efforts. (The pact does not include “American Girl” or the band’s first album, Billboard can confirm.)

Petty packed a lot of punch in his solo albums as well, and the estate’s deal with WCM covers hits including “Free Fallin’”, “I Won’t Back Down” and “Run-in’ Down a Dream” off the five-time platinum Full Moon Fever, and “Wildflowers,” “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and others off his three-time platinum Wildflowers release.

The pact also encompasses Petty’s contributions to his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch and with roots rock supergroup Traveling Wilburys, Billboard has learned. The latter band had a relaxed and collaborative songwriting process, however Petty was main writer on the Wilburys classic “Last Night.”

Petty was only 66 and coming off a 40th anniversary tour when he died in Oct. 2, 2017 of cardiac arrest. Over the course of his 40-year career he released 13 studio albums with his famed band and another three as a solo act, going on to sell over 85 million albums and earning inductions in both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Along the way he scored hits with fellow icons like Stevie Nicks (“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”), earned MusiCares Person of the Year and performed during the Super Bowl. He also dabbled in acting, including a memorable cameo as a future version of himself in Kevin Costner’s The Postman.

The Petty estate praised the new partnership as it looks to “expand the reach” of the singer-songwriter’s expansive catalog and bring in new fans to his work. “This partnership will open the door to new licensing opportunities and serve to introduce his music to a new generation across the globe,” the estate shared. “We’re excited for this new chapter of growth, and the preservation of Tom’s legacy both at home and abroad.”

WCM co-chair and COO, Carianne Marshall, and co-chair and CEO, Guy Moot, added: “Tom Petty’s music is woven into the fabric of our lives, not just across America, but around the world. He captured the full range and resilience of the human spirit in songs about freedom and dreams, outcasts and rebels, relationships and heartbreak, the personal and the universal. Tom’s unmistakable sound and lyrics remain as timeless and vital today as ever, and all of us at Warner Chappell Music are honored to be joining with his estate to help amplify his extraordinary legacy on a global scale.”

The Petty catalog is the latest big get for Warner Chappell following catalog deals in recent years with the estates of Davie Bowie and George Michael, and new stars including Zach Bryan, Morgan Wallen, Dua Lipa and Gerardo Ortiz, among others.

As recently as 2022, Petty’s catalog was administered by Wixen Music Publishing, which went after an Arizona politician for their unauthorized use of his anthem “I Won’t Back Down.”

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