Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Company typeSubsidiary
PredecessorChappell & Co.
Founded1987; 37 years ago (1987)
Area served
Key people
Guy Moot (CEO, co-chair)
Carianne Marshall
(COO, co-chair) [1]
ServicesMusic publishing
ParentWarner Music Group
DivisionsWarner Chappell Production Music

Warner Chappell Music, Inc. is an American music publishing company and a subsidiary of the Warner Music Group. Warner Chappell Music's catalog consists of over 1.4 million compositions and 150,000 composers, with offices in over 40 countries.[2]


The company, founded in 1811 as Chappell & Co., was a British music publishing company and instrument shop in Bond Street, London, that specialised in piano manufacturing.[3] In 1929, Warner Bros. acquired M. Witmark & Sons, Remick Music Corporation and Harms, Inc.[4] Tamerlane Music was acquired in 1969.[5]

Warner Chappell Music was formed in San Antonio, Texas, in 1987, when Warner Music Group Chairman Chuck Kaye led the company to purchase Chappell & Co. from PolyGram (now Universal Music Group) (UMG).[6] In 1988, Warner-Chappell acquired Birch Tree Group (formerly Summy Birchard),[7] publisher of Happy Birthday to You, and the Frances Clark piano method books.[8][9] In 1990, Warner Chappell acquired Mighty Three Music, the publishing company of Thom Bell and Gamble and Huff.[10]

In 1994, Warner Bros. Publications expanded its print music operations by acquiring CPP/Belwin. CPP/Belwin had been the former print music arm of Columbia Pictures.[11]

In 2005, Warner Chappell Music sold most of its printed music division, Warner Bros. Publications, to Alfred Publishing,[12] and in 2006 launched the Pan European Digital Licensing (P.E.D.L.) initiative. In 2007, when Radiohead released In Rainbows through its website on a pay-what-you-wish model, Warner Chappell Music created a streamlined, one-of-a-kind licensing process for the songs on the album[13] that allowed rights users around the world to secure use of the music from a single location.[14]

In 2006, David H. Johnson was elevated to interim CEO and then in 2007 to Chairman & CEO of the company.[15]

In 2007, the company acquired Non-Stop Music.[16] Additionally, in 2010 it acquired 615 Music, a Nashville-based production music company,[17] and subsequently united all the production music companies under the name Warner Chappell Production Music in 2012.[18] In 2011, it acquired Southside Independent Music Publishing, whose songwriters included Bruno Mars, Brody Brown, and J.R. Rotem.[19] In July 2012, Warner/Chappell purchased the music rights of the film studio Miramax Films.[20]

It was ranked in 2010 by Music & Copyright as the world's third-largest music publisher.[21] Among the songs in the company's library are "Winter Wonderland" and formerly "Happy Birthday to You" until the copyright of the song was invalidated in 2015 and put in the public domain the next year.[22]

In January 2011, Cameron Strang, founder of New West Records and Southside Independent Music Publishing, was named CEO of Warner Chappell Music.[23] He was succeeded by former company president Jon Platt in 2016.[24]

On June 30, 2017, Warner Chappell Music filed a lawsuit against EMI Music Publishing, accusing the latter company of underpaying Warner Music for the royalties of the 20th Century Fox catalogue, which Warner acquired in 1982, as well as the rights to Curtis Mayfield and Kool and the Gang. This controversy arises from EMI's acquisition of Robbins and Feist in the early 1990s.[25]

On January 9, 2019, Guy Moot was named CEO of Warner Chappell Music. He and Carianne Marshall, the company's COO, were appointed co-chairs.[26]

On January 15, 2019, Warner Chappell Music filed a monetization claim against a fanfilm created by Star Wars YouTube channel Star Wars Theory, but rescinded the claim two days later after intervention by Lucasfilm Ltd. on behalf of outraged fans.[27][28] In May 2019, Warner Chappell Music was again criticized for filing overly broad copyright claims, concerning a large number of YouTube videos by Minecraft Youtuber Mumbo Jumbo, who has more than 8 million subscribers, for the sole reason that the intro song on all of them contained samples of a song that was copyrighted by Warner Chappell Music. The Youtuber had paid for a license to use the song, but it turned out that the samples had not been cleared. He stated that he intended to dispute Warner Chappell Music's claims, but that their large number (around 1800) would make this burdensome.[29]

In May 2019, Warner Chappell acquired the Gene Autry Music Group, comprising four music publishers, 1,500 compositions (including "Back in the Saddle Again", "Here Comes Santa Claus", "Just Walkin' in the Rain", and "You Belong To Me"), and several of Autry's master recordings.[30]

In July 2021, Warner Chappell opened its first office in Vietnam.[31]

On January 3, 2022, Variety reported that the estate of English musician David Bowie had sold the late artist's publishing catalog to Warner Chappell Music, "for a price upwards of $250 million".[32]

On January 20, 2022, Warner Chappell signed a worldwide publishing agreement with ABS-CBN Music, the umbrella organization that houses the record label Star Music and its sub-labels, StarPop, Tarsier Records, DNA Music, and Old School Records. One of the biggest music producers in the Philippines, it has the largest catalogue of OPM music, including the international hits such as "Anak" by Freddie Aguilar and "Pangako Sa'yo" by Vina Morales.[33]


  1. ^ "Carianne Marshall". Music Business Worldwide. February 8, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  2. ^ "Warner/Chappell Music - HISTORY". Warnerchappell.com. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  3. ^ Tim Arango. "Scratching Under the Vinyl Era". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  4. ^ Spring, Katherine (November 1, 2013). Saying It With Songs: Popular Music and the Coming of Sound to Hollywood Cinema. OUP USA. ISBN 9780199842223.
  5. ^ "Warner Chappell Music, Inc". www.fairness.com. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  6. ^ "Warner Music Group | Timeline". Wmg.com. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Birchard - IMSLP". imslp.org. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  8. ^ "'Happy Birthday' song to be sold to Warner Communications". UPI. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  9. ^ "'Happy Birthday' and the Money It Makes". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 26, 1989. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Shiver, Jube (July 28, 1990). "L.A. Company Buys Catalogue of Black Music: [Home Edition]". Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext). Los Angeles, Calif., United States. p. 2. ISSN 0458-3035. ProQuest 281123647. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  11. ^ Weaver, Jay (October 5, 1994). "Melodic merger print music divisions unite to form world's biggest publishing operation". Sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States. pp. 1–. ProQuest 388726870.
  12. ^ "Annual Report for the period ending September 30, 2006". Sec.gov. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "Investor Center - News and Advice from DailyFinance". Bloggingstocks.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  14. ^ "Music Week". Music Week. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  15. ^ "Warner Music Group Names Veteran Music Industry Entrepreneur, Cameron Strang, CEO of Warner/Chappell Music". GlobeNewswire. January 4, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  16. ^ "Warner Music Group - Investor Relations - News Release". Investors.wmg.com. August 6, 2007. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  17. ^ "Warner/Chappell Music Acquires Renowned Production Music Company 615 Music". Studio Daily. December 10, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  18. ^ "Warner/Chappel Unites Production Companies, Launches New Website". Billboard. April 5, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  19. ^ "Warner Music Group | News". Wmg.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  20. ^ "Warner/Chappell Purchases Music Rights to All Miramax-Owned Films". The Hollywood Reporter. July 31, 2012.
  21. ^ Music & Copyright, April 21, 2010
  22. ^ "'Happy Birthday' copyright invalidated by judge". The New York Times. September 22, 2015. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  23. ^ "Cameron Strang named CEO of Warner/Chappell". Music Business Worldwide. January 4, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  24. ^ "Jon Platt Named CEO of Warner/Chappell". Billboard. October 6, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "Warner/Chappell Says EMI is Underpaying Royalties in New Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter. June 30, 2017.
  26. ^ Aswad, Jem (January 9, 2019). "Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Names Guy Moot, Carianne Marshall Co-Chairs". Variety. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  27. ^ "YouTube Star Wars Theory Has Vader Fan Film Struck Down by Disney Music Publisher (UPDATE)". Newsweek. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  28. ^ "Lucasfilm Saves Darth Vader Fan Film from Disney Copyright Claim". January 16, 2019.
  29. ^ Doctorow, Cory (May 20, 2019). "How Warner Chappell was able to steal revenues from 25% of a popular Minecraft vlogger's channels". Boing Boing. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  30. ^ "Warner Chappell Acquires Gene Autry Music Group". Billboard.
  31. ^ "Warner Chappell Music opens Vietnam office". Music Week. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  32. ^ Aswad, Jem (January 3, 2022). "David Bowie's Estate Sells His Publishing Catalog to Warner Chappell (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  33. ^ "Warner Chappell Music Philippines signs global publishing deal with ABS-CBN Music". ABS-CBN Corporate. January 20, 2023. Retrieved January 25, 2023.