Sponsor of 9th Annual LA Music Awards
Who we are
peermusic was founded over 85 years ago by renowned visionary Ralph S. Peer, and is the largest independent music publisher in the world, with 32 offices in 28 countries and over a quarter of a million copyrights.
In January 1928, Peer established the firm as Southern Music Publishing Company, Inc., with headquarters in New York City. As a young A&R man, Peer guided the first blues recording by African-American singer Mamie Smith (“Crazy Blues”), the first country recordings with Fiddlin’ John Carson, and greenlit Louis Armstrong’s seminal Hot Five sessions while working for Okeh Records.
Working in A&R for the Victor Talking Machine label, Peer discovered Jimmie Rodgers (“Waiting For A Train”) and The Carter Family (“Will The Circle Be Unbroken”), and recorded what became known as the famed “Bristol Sessions.” These pioneering sessions are credited as the birth of modern country music, earning Peer the nickname “Father of Country Music.” With the establishment of his publishing company Southern Music, now known as peermusic, Peer acquired standards-to-be “You Are My Sunshine,” “Walk Right In” and “Georgia On My Mind.”
Peer recognized the potential for growth in the Latin market after a trip to Mexico City in 1928, when he met composer Agustin Lara and began publishing his works. He brought this rich musical culture to the world, when RCA Victor sought to increase its presence in Latin America, by signing such luminaries as Lara and Perez Prado (“Mambo #5”) and Consuelo Velazquez (“Besame Mucho”). Peer saw potential for international marketing and development of then isolated Latin songs and, in his own words, Peer “conceived the idea of an organized chain of music publishing houses to cover the principal countries of the world.” With his wife and partner Monique Iversen Peer, the firm successfully placed now globally-famed Latin hits such as Ary Barroso’s “Brazil,” Lara’s “Solamente Una Vez,” and Gabriel Ruiz’s “Amor” in films produced by Walt Disney and MGM.
The company opened offices across Europe during the 1930s, acquiring and developing local repertoire throughout the country that have since become classics by artists such as Edith Piaf (“No Je Ne Regrette Rien” and “Mon Manège à Moi”) and Yves Montand.
With new relationships with ambitious composers building globally, peermusic launched its classical music division in August 1948, which would publish respected composers from Latin America such as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Manuel Ponce, and Arturo Márquez (“Danzón No. 2”); Turkey (A. Adnan Saygun, “Yunus Emre”); Spain (Xavier Montsalvatge, “Cinco Canciones Negras”); and Poland (Mieczyslaw Weinberg, “The Passenger”); while fostering global interest in the music of such American composers as Charles Ives (“The Unanswered Question”) and Morten Lauridsen (“O Magnum Mysterium”).
Through the 1950s, peermusic’s success in the global pop music marketplace burgeoned with the signing of Buddy Holly (“Everyday”), as well as successful song placements with Elvis Presley (“Blue Moon Of Kentucky”), Roy Orbision (“Ooby Dooby”), and the Big Bopper (“Chantilly Lace”). Peer also continued to sign new, up and coming writers such as Buck Ram (“The Great Pretender”).
With the passing of founder Ralph Peer in early 1960, his wife Monique took on the role of peermusic’s CEO and continued to deftly guide the company for the next 20 years. Leading the firm through the era of record album sales dominance, peermusic topped the charts with the Rolling Stones (“Not Fade Away”), The Beatles (“Long Tall Sally”), and The Ventures (“Perfidia”). Also signed to the firm were Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan (“Sunshine Superman”), and songwriting team John Carter and Ken Lewis, who penned No. 1 hits for The Music Explosion (“Little Bit O’ Soul”) and Herman’s Hermits (“Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”).
Through the 1970s, peermusic copyrights became staples of many important rock releases, from “Statesboro Blues” (The Allman Brothers) to “Milk Cow Blues” (Aerosmith). The firm took an early adventurous lead in paving the way to the modern rock/punk years, publishing such ground breaking hits of the era such as “Cherry Bomb” (The Runaways), “King Of The Night Time World” and “Do You Love Me?” (KISS). 1980s hits such as “Dancin’ In The Ruins” (Blue Oyster Cult) and “Walk Like An Egyptian” (The Bangles) added to that legacy.
In 1980, Ralph Peer II became peermusic’s third CEO, as he continues to lead the global firm through the transitions of the digital music era. Permanent peermusic offices opened under his leadership in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, in Chile, Peru and, in recognition of the continuing connectedness of the music of the Americas – Miami.
Under his leadership, peermusic continued its dominance in Latin Music publishing over the next few decades by publishing the catalogs of renown artists such Juanes (“A Dios Le Pido”), Molotov (“Gimme Tha Power”), Sin Bandera (“Entra En Mi Vida”), Chayanne (“Me Enamore De Ti”), and Gloria Trevi (“El Favor De La Soledad”).
Ralph was also responsible for the signing of renowned writer and producer David Foster, who co-wrote hits such as “You’re The Inspiration” (Chicago), “She’s a Beauty” (The Tubes) and “I Have Nothing” (Whitney Houston). The 1990s found the firm at the top of the charts with “It’s Oh So Quiet” (Bjork), “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…)” (Lou Bega), and “Long Neck Bottle” (Garth Brooks); and into the 2000’s with “Come On Over Baby” (Christina Aguilera), “Me Against The Music” (Britney Spears), and “Mayberry” (Rascal Flatts).
peermusic continued its longstanding involvement in blues and R&B with the acquisition of a portion of the soul blues stalwart publisher Malaco Music in 2007, and with that, such titles as “Old Time Rock and Roll” (Bob Seger), “Groove Me” (King Floyd), and “Down Home Blues” (Z.Z. Hill).
At the dawn of the 2010’s, peermusic celebrated another string of huge hits that included “Firework” (Katy Perry), “Umbrella” and “What’s My Name” (Rihanna), “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It”) (Beyonce)’ “Banjo” (Rascal Flatts), “Jealous” (Nick Jonas) “Night Train” (Jason Aldean) and “Darte Un Beso” (Prince Royce) The song titles bespeak a continuing connection, and a legacy that peermusic has been building since 1928 – finding the next, fresh musical possibility and taking that music to practitioners around the world.