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Who Guitarist Pete Townshend Sells Song Catalog to Spirit Music

The Who's Guitarist Peter Townshend
Peter Townshend, leader of the rock band The Who. Photographer: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Pete Townshend, guitarist for the rock band The Who, sold his interest in a song catalog including “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley” to Spirit Music Group.

Townshend, 66, also signed a multiyear consulting agreement to promote the work, which spans five decades, New York-based Spirit Music said in a statement Jan. 24. Financial terms weren’t provided.

The sale includes a long-term music publishing agreement for Townshend’s future work, including potential solo albums, releases with The Who and compositions from “Floss,” the artist’s musical dramatic project, Spirit Music said. Townshend said in the statement that money from the sale will allow him to restart his creative career.

“Most songwriters don’t get this kind of opportunity, a chance of creative renaissance,” Townshend said in the statement. “I am passionately committed to new projects for rock and for music theater and I can’t imagine a better company with which to be building a new creative life for myself.”

Townshend and The Who, named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, performed hits including “Pinball Wizard,” “My Generation,” and “Who Are You,” after forming in 1964. The band reunited earlier this month to play at the charity Concert for Killing Cancer, an event they organized at London’s HMV Hammersmith Apollo.

Spirit Music, acquired by Pegasus Capital Advisors LP in April 2009, owns and manages a roster of 40,000 songs by artists including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Townshend will also work with Spirit to help license his songs in film, television, advertising and new media projects, as well as reach agreements with consumer products companies, according to the statement. They will also work together to develop musical stage shows and multimedia installations.

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