Original article by Dave McNary Published: 7 November 2016 on Variety.com
Cutting Edge Group and Lakeshore Entertainment have closed terms on a strategic music venture in which Cutting Edge will administer and monetize Lakeshore’s music library of over 50 titles, Variety has learned exclusively.
The news was announced Monday at the American Film Market. Lakeshore has produced movies for the past two decades, including “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Age of Adaline,” “American Pastoral” and “The Boy.”
“Lakeshore are one of the leading film producers in the world” said Philip Moross, Cutting Edge CEO. “They are consistently producing high quality commercial films and we are thrilled to set up this new venture with them.”
The deal will see Cutting Edge exploit the music rights from Lakeshore’s library of titles.
Cutting Edge, based in London and Los Angeles, has a music library of over 400 films, TV shows and invests into 30-40 single films a year. Recent titles include “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Sicario,” “Everest” and “Whiplash.” The company has recently embarked on a library acquisition strategy and is aggressively pursuing a number of deals with leading independents and mini majors.
“This is seemed like a natural fit,” said Eric Reid of Lakeshore, “The Cutting Edge team are experts at monetizing music rights and we look forward to their success with this catalogue.”
Deal was brokered by UTA Independent Film Group and Lakeshore’s Eric Reid and Marc Reid with Tara Moross and Phil Hope on Behalf of Cutting Edge.
Cutting Edge has acquired a significant stake in Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment’s music library in what is said to be a seven-figure deal which closed while execs were attending the Los Cabos International Film Festival in Mexico. With the co-ownership agreement, comes a strategic alliance between Cutting Edge and Electric who will work together to monetize the library of music around the world and to build a future business. That includes over over 130 hours of television programming and includes the scores from the hit television shows Leverage and The Librarians.
Cutting Edge, which is a leader in delivering and promoting music in different media platforms, will administer and exploit the library by utilizing their worldwide sync teams and partnership with Kobalt Music, and release the soundtracks through their sister company, Varese Sarabande.
The deal also incorporates future productions by Electric where Cutting Edge will partner and jointly own the music rights to push out around the world.
“Cutting Edge presented a model that works within our business structure, which we believe will enhance the value of the current music library and provide the expertise and experience for the
best possible music and score on our future television and film productions,” said Electric’s Chairman and CEO Dean Devlin in a statement to Deadline.
Cutting Edge is best known in the business for investments into single pictures and slate deals with companies like Cross Creek Pictures and Thunder Road. The company owns the music in more than 400 films and television shows.
Electric is in post-production on its third season of The Librarians for TNT. The company is also in pre-production on the feature thriller Bad Samaritan which was helmed by Devlin. Electric is also currently selling international rights to Brad Silberling’s thriller An Ordinary Man which stars Ben Kingsley as well as the PBS drama series Mercy Street executive produced by Ridley Scott.
And finally, the company (which recently created domestic distribution division) will release the Tribeca Film Festival title The Book of Love in early 2017. The film stars Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Biel and Maisie Williams. It most recently released the thriller Blackway which starred Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles and Ray Liotta.
The deal was brokered by Jeff Gonzalez and Craig Gates on behalf of Electric and James Gibb and Phil Hope on behalf of Cutting Edge.
“I wish I were bisexual. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just love whoever you meet?”
Original article by Chrissy Iley Published: 14 February 2016 on The Sunday Times
Dita Von Teese greets me at her house, a mock-Tudor cottage in the Hollywood Hills. She is surprisingly composed — and rather perky — for someone who has just arrived back from a two-week stint at the Crazy Horse, the erotic cabaret venue in Paris.
The interior of her home is exactly what you’d expect from the world’s most famous burlesque star. It’s a playhouse with lots of feathery things — a stuffed peacock, a black swan and a white one wearing a little diamanté crown — as well as a stuffed tiger and a leopard welcome mat.
Dita is wearing her lounge outfit of black capri pants, form-hugging vintage sweater and black ballet pumps. Her alabaster legs complement a white velvet complexion; her look is completed by black, glossy hair and her trademark crimson lips. She’s softly spoken; shy, even — or is she just checking me out?
We met, briefly, at the photoshoot the previous day, for which she was plumped up and corseted. When I took a picture of her on my phone, she told me off. But that’s forgotten now: we’re here to talk about her latest project, a limited-edition vinyl album called Soundtrack for Seduction. The first side is the retro Von Teese; the music she uses in her burlesque shows when she bathes in a giant martini glass. Side two is moody, modern electronic music. She sings on some of the tracks. Her voice — think Peggy Lee on ice — is purring and sweet.
Sweet is actually her real name. Heather Sweet was born in Rochester, Michigan, with mousy-blonde hair. These days, you can’t tell where Heather ends and Dita begins — part of her power is the dichotomy of encompassing traditional values in a bad-girl body.
As I slump into her velvet sofa, she sits perfectly upright with the posture of a ballerina. Only her eyes move while she talks. “I like the word ‘seduction’,” she says of Soundtrack for Seduction. “People think seduction is going after someone and deciding you’re going to make them yours — but to me, the way to properly seduce someone is to be living on your own terms, to make your world a place others want to be invited to.”
Has she always been like this — super-confident, waiting for men to come to her? “Well, no… I’m a 43-year-old woman, it takes time to arrive at that.”
Indeed it did. It took years of working in lingerie shops and as a stripper before she discovered her own sexy and pulled Dita out of the Heather. And it took a flamboyant marriage to the goth-rocker Marilyn Manson and a subsequent divorce to break her heart and set her on a new learning curve. They exchanged vows in a castle in Ireland in December 2005, after being together for five years. In December 2006, she filed for divorce.
I find it intriguing that a woman who basically strips for a living is actually a feminist
A burlesque artist and a rocker may be the kind of people you’d expect to have an open relationship, but Von Teese and Manson did not. She doesn’t specify what went wrong, but has said in the past that she didn’t support his “party” lifestyle.
“I still believe in marriage. I’m a very traditional person,” she insists. She is now in a full-time relationship with a creative visual designer at Disney called Adam. They share their home with Aleister — a devon rex cat with a curly, poodle-like coat, who has 60,000 followers of his own on Instagram.
She goes on to talk about the song A Guy What Takes His Time, originally a Mae West song, which she performs on the album. Is that what she likes — guys who take their time? “Obviously,” she says. “I hate fast movers. And I love that moment when you get to the point when you really know someone, and they know you, and you can spend hours and hours… That’s when you can really get involved in the details of love-making, not just the ‘Ahhh-ahhh’. I think fast is fake.”
Dita Von Teese reclines in a giant martini — a staple of her burlesque routine. “I’m paid to sit inside a glass!” she says. Her debut album, Soundtrack for Seduction, is released todayDita Von Teese reclines in a giant martini — a staple of her burlesque routine. “I’m paid to sit inside a glass!” she says. Her debut album, Soundtrack for Seduction, is released today (Rex)
Really? “The longer you spend, the better the payoff is at the end.” Some women, I tell her, prefer multiple orgasms and not just one pay-off. She tries not to look shocked. “I hope you get to move with the fast movers and I get to meet the slow movers. Slow and meticulous.” Is Adam slow and meticulous? “Yes. He’s from Chicago. He’s not interested in showbiz. We’ve been together two years and he’s slow and steady.”
Does she think she’ll get married again? “I think about the pros and cons of marriage all the time. I have a list. The pros are: I love ceremony, ritual, promises, symbols. I don’t like the business and financial sides of things, or divorce. I don’t want to do that again.
“I also have a list of the pros and cons about children. I get anxiety about the state of the world — and it’s hard to have a child when you’re working. Sometimes I wish I’d had a child in my twenties, and now I’d have some amazing adult child that I like hanging out with. But that kind of slipped through my fingers.”
The album, she tells me, will come in pink vinyl, and if you want to pay extra, you can have one that she’s kissed with her vintage red lipstick. It comes out today, on Valentine’s Day . Is she a Valentine’s Day kind of person? “I’m not. It’s very much a Hallmark holiday, isn’t it?” she says, disparagingly. “Don’t buy lingerie for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.” Women, she argues, should buy their own lingerie.
I find it intriguing that a woman who basically strips for a living is actually a feminist.
Does she feel beautiful? “No, but I like to put my lipstick on to face the world. I wear it even to the dentist… wipe it off, put it back on. It takes so little time for a lot of payoff.”
Her old friends still call her Heather, as do her relatives. Is she still Heather Sweet? Is the red lipstick all about stepping into Dita? “No. People think I must be a great actress, but I’m not acting. I get my confidence when I get my make-up on. You can still see Heather Sweet on stage if you know what to look for.”
“If you’ve got pink walls you can look amazing naked in every room”
And what should we look for? “A girl saying, ‘This is hilarious, I’m getting paid to ride this mechanical bull and sit inside a champagne glass!’ ”
She discovered burlesque in the early 1990s and sees herself as inextricably linked to the pin-up girls from the 1930s and 1940s, who also worked as burlesque dancers. “I liked that I could create that look and be different to what I was. To me, this was art.”
She created Dita while working in a strip club. “I was also a go-go dancer at rave parties, because my then boyfriend was one of the biggest rave promoters here in LA. I discovered pictures of Bettie Page, so I decided that I wanted to be a retro-fetish star. Then I started doing bondage videos and things like that.”
How did the people around her react to her work? “They were, like, ‘What’s going on?’ My dad was disapproving. But then my dad was disapproving when I worked at a lingerie store.” She insists, however, that her father, a machinist, and her mother, a manicurist, are very proud of her today.
How difficult was it to incorporate bondage and boyfriends? “It was fine. If I started dating someone new and they were jealous of what I did, they simply wouldn’t last long. My love affairs have been for five or six years at a time. I’m a homebody and I like monogamy.”
I also heard she had enjoyed same-sex relationships. “I wouldn’t say many. I experimented. But unfortunately I’d call myself fully heterosexual. I wish I were bisexual.”
Really? “I find bisexuality super-evolved. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just love whoever you meet, if they just loved you? I think that’s supercool.”
She enjoys the company of other strong women. “I love women who are interesting and talented. I am not intimidated by them at all. The ones you have to worry about are the ones who seem unassuming. The ones you don’t think could steal your man. Those are the ones figuring out how they can.”
Are these conclusions from experience? “Yes!”
Is she intimidated by anyone? “Every time I talk to Madonna I’m super-intimidated. Same with Prince.”
She has to dye her hair black every two weeks to stop the blonde roots showing. “I’d love to be free of it, but if I change my colour now, I’d be considered a traitor [by her fans]. My fantasy is, one day, I’ll be a great silver fox.”
Ageing is not something that worries her. “Lighting is everything. You make a beautiful sacred space and if you have pink walls you can look amazing naked in every room.” She gestures to her own pink walls and I briefly imagine her patrolling naked among the stuffed birds.
Was she always so confident in her body? “I was raised in ballet. I was used to being in front of mirrors with very little clothes on, noticing how I could change how my body looks according to which posture I’m in. I noticed how to pay attention to carriage. You can totally manipulate how your body appears.”
It seems that Von Teese, or Sweet, is pretty good at manipulating not just her body but everything. She has created a whole person. It’s not just performance art, it’s living.
Click here to win one of 25 signed copies of Dita Von Teese’s specially curated and limited edition vinyl, Soundtrack for Seduction.The worlds’ most recognisable burlesque dancer has personally chosen a collection of songs including original and previously unreleased music from her own shows, as well as some of her favourite artists, both old and new
Soundtrack for Seduction is available as a limited edition for £15 plus p&p on 12on12.com/ditavonteese until March 14
Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese is getting ready to release a 12-song vinyl album called “Soundtrack for Seduction.” She hopes it is a must-have for fans—even though she doesn’t sing on most of the tracks.
Instead, the record is essentially a playlist of other artists’ songs, picked to set the mood for a romantic night at home. Among the tunes: “Here She Comes Again” by Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp and “Is that All There Is?” by the late jazz singer Peggy Lee.
Ms. Von Teese is the first of a wide range of celebrities—some musical stars, some not—who are considering selling their own playlists on vinyl for between $20 and $150 a pop, depending on whether they autograph the record, kiss it or include a personal note to the buyer.
“I think there’s a lot of misconception about the kind of music I like,” Ms. Von Teese says in a promotional video for the album, which can’t be heard online.
It is a project spearheaded by Philip Moross, chief executive of the Cutting Edge Group, a music-and-media consulting firm that finances film and TV scores in exchange for the music rights.
He said the idea of marrying modern-day curated playlists with old-fashioned vinyl came to him after Cutting Edge Group several years ago acquired Varèse Sarabande, a soundtrack-focused label that had long produced and distributed many vinyl editions of its music. The label’s vinyl sales jumped 50% last year, so Mr. Moross decided to try updating the retro format.
Compilation albums are nothing new, but rarely have they centered so squarely on the tastes of celebrity curators. Cutting Edge’s “12on12” records are meant to be collector’s items for super fans, revealing their idol’s tastes and influences.
Mr. Moross said he’s in talks with a wide range of stars—from basketball players to supermodels—who are keen on issuing their own compilation records. Ms. Von Teese’s album is the pilot; no others have been made.
To promote the records, Mr. Moross is planning a show that features a different celebrity each episode talking about how they curated their album. It is unclear yet whether it will run only online or be carried on a cable channel.
Major record labels still reap less than 5% of their revenues from vinyl sales, despite the format’s recent boom. But Mr. Moross said it could be extremely profitable for a smaller company like his, as well as for individual acts with large, devoted fan bases.
Most such artists are constantly hunting for new ways to make money from their biggest fans, since the artists can only tour and release new music—or repackage their old music—so often, managers and booking agents say.
Fans can place orders for “Soundtrack for Seduction” starting on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, through March 14. The albums are made to order and will be delivered in about three months. Twenty dollars will fetch a regular copy. With an autograph, the price rises to $50. For an album kissed by Ms. Von Teese, lipstick and all, the price will be $100.
“It’s a big content play—if you put out another greatest-hits record on the shelf at Wal-Mart, you’re not connecting with fans,” said Scott Manson, chief operating officer of Scooter Braun Projects, which is in talks with Mr. Moross to issue vinyl playlists for its artists and is exploring ways to partner in the entire venture.
Alan Melina, who manages the producer RedOne, said some of his clients are interested in appearing on Mr. Moross’s show, which may air online or on TV. The concept reminds him of Desert Island Discs, a decades-old British radio show that has guests choose which eight recordings they would want if stranded on a desert island.
One catch: Celebrities won’t be able to put just any song on their playlists. Mr. Moross said he must obtain permission to use each track from the record label that issued it.
Music publishing rights specialist Cutting Edge Group and its investment arm Conduct have come on board six upcoming movies — “Everest,” “Message From the King,” “Dirty Grandpa,” “November Criminals,” “Unlocked” and “Army of One.”
“Everest,” due out September 18 from Universal, recaps the 1996 multi-expedition assault on Everest that left eight climbers dead. Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and John Hawkes star.
“Dirty Grandpa,” due out February 26 from Lionsgate, stars Robert De Niro and Zac Efron.
“It was a very productive Cannes for us this year and we’re excited about the quality and talent associated with these films,” Conduct managing director James Gibb said. “We’re also not done with at least another six deals in the works and more beyond that.”
Seven-year-old CEG has invested in “Whiplash,” “Fury,” “John Wick,” “The King’s Speech,” “Drive,” “Looper” and “End of Watch” in exchange for music publishing rights. It handles scoring, clearances and music supervision in films, then recoups from soundtrack and sheet-music sales; licensing and royalties from international ticket sales and TV deals; and rights in TV commercials.
Cannes, France (May 14, 2015) – Two years after striking a five-film slate deal at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Thunder Road Pictures is renewing their agreement with Cutting Edge Group and CEG’s investment arm, Conduct, in a seven-figure deal to extend the partnership for an additional five films. In exchange for future music rights, Conduct will advance Thunder Road funds to enable the company to develop and expand their current slate of films in development.
“We are delighted to recommence our deal with the Cutting Edge Group and Conduct team,” said Thunder Road Pictures Principal Basil Iwanyk. “Their initial investment into Thunder Road was essential in building a terrific slate of film projects, including Sicario and John Wick, the former being in competition this year at the Cannes Film Festival.”
Cutting Edge Group CEO Philip Moross commented, “Thunder Road Pictures is a premier production company and a great partner to be in business with. We look forward to working with Basil and his team for many years to come.”
Thunder Road Pictures’ upcoming slate includes 3 Seconds, a $30 million action thriller starring Luke Evans (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Fast and Furious 6), shooting this summer and financed by PalmStar Media and Merced Media.
Under the aegis of Cutting Edge Group, Conduct offers a new paradigm by financing the music budgets of films and TV programs in exchange for intellectual property rights to each project‘s original music. As an investment fund with more than 400 credits to date, Conduct currently has over $100 million assets under management. Last year, Conduct set up slate financing deals with QED and with Brian Oliver’s Cross Creek Pictures. The company has also invested in hundreds of single pictures including Whiplash, Fury, That Awkward Moment and the upcoming Self/Less and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Conduct Managing Director James Gibb said, “We intend to close at least four more slate deals this year, and hopefully one or two here at the Cannes Film Festival.”
The agreement negotiations were handled by Conduct’s Managing Director Tara Moross and Thunder Road Pictures’ Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Jonathan Fuhrman. Conduct is represented by UTA’s Rena Ronson and Alex Brunner.
About Cutting Edge
Cutting Edge Group (CEG) is a leading international music financier and services provider for film, television, and advertising, working directly with film and TV studios, independent producers, and global brands. CEG has provided its investment capital and music services to over 400 feature films, including The King’s Speech, which won the Best Picture Academy Award for 2010, Brad Pitt‘s Fury, John Wick, Drive, and the five-time BAFTA nominee and Golden Globe winner for Best Supporting Actor, Whiplash.CEG’s group of companies include Conduct, a leading asset manager specializing in music for the media industries; Varese Sarabande Records, the preeminent film and TV music soundtrack label; and CORD Worldwide a best-in-class independent music department for filmmakers and studios, and a music planning and buying business for global brands such as Shell, Nestle, Unilever, Mattel and advertising agencies J. Walter Thompson, Grey and McCann. For more information about Cutting Edge Group, visit http://www.cuttingedgegroup.com.
About Thunder Road Pictures
Founded and owned by Basil Iwanyk, whose films have collectively grossed $1.8 billion worldwide, Thunder Road Pictures is currently in post-production on the tentpole film Gods of Egypt for Lionsgate, directed by Alex Proyas; and Sicario,directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Benecio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. Also upcoming for Thunder Road is a feature version of the highly successful video game Splinter Cell, directed by Doug Liman and starring Tom Hardy. Previous films include the epic action adventure films Seventh Son and Clash of the Titans, along with the sequel, Wrath of the Titans, the Keanu Reeves actioner John Wick, three installments of The Expendables, Brooklyn’s Finest, We Are Marshall, Firewall and the critically acclaimed drama The Town, directed by Ben Affleck.
(January 15, 2015; Los Angeles, Calif.)— Cutting Edge Group (CEG) today announced that subsidiary Air-Edel Associates Ltd has completed negotiations to part from CEG via a management buyout.
CEG, the leading international film music financier and services provider, bought Air-Edel, one of the world’s foremost composer and music supervision companies, in 2007. Longstanding Air-Edel managing director Maggie Rodford, backed by an investor group led by Robert Cope, will now return the company to its independent roots as it was when it was founded by Sir George Martin and Herman Edel. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Air-Edel was founded in 1969 with an initial focus on managing and representing composers writing music for commercials. In the early 1980s, the company expanded its operations to film and TV, and then into games and theatre. The company bought their own recording studios in 1991, and today represents many award-winning composers on a worldwide basis as well as managing a strong publishing catalogue.
CEG’s CEO Philip Moross said, “This deal is a friendly divestment, one that’s great for both parties. Air-Edel is now in the hands of Maggie Rodford, as it should be. We look forward to working with her great company in the future.”
Air-Edel’s Rodford added, “I am very proud to be leading an independent Air-Edel in this new chapter of our forty-five year history. It is a great honor for myself and our talented staff in London and Los Angeles to represent world-class composers and artists, and to be given the opportunity to ensure that our company can go from strength to strength.”
Air-Edel has offices in London and Los Angeles.
ABOUT CUTTING EDGE GROUP
Cutting Edge Group (CEG) is a leading international music financier and services provider for film, television, and advertising, working directly with film and TV studios, independent producers, and global brands. CEG has provided its investment capital and music services to over 400 feature films, including “The King’s Speech,” which won the Best Picture Academy Award for 2010, Brad Pitts’ “Fury,” “John Wick,” “Drive,” and the five-time BAFTA nominee and Golden Globe winner (Best Supporting Actor), “Whiplash.” CEG’s group of companies include Varese Sarabande Records, the preeminent film and TV music soundtrack label; and CORD Worldwide, a music planning and buying business for global brands such as Apple, Shell, Nestle, and Unilever and ad agencies J. Walter Thompson and McCann.
ABOUT AIR-EDEL GROUP
Air-Edel, founded by Sir George Martin and Herman Edel in 1969, is Europe’s leading music production company representing composers, songwriters, film and music editors. Air-Edel also provides music supervision services and has an in-house publishing company. Air-Edel has offices in Los Angeles and London, and the London office also incorporates Air-Edel Recording Studios. The company represents many world famous composers whose recent credits include films “The Boxtrolls” (Dario Marianelli), “Cinderella” (Patrick Doyle), “Paper Planes” (Nigel Westlake), and “Enemy” (Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans). Projects engineered or mixed at Air-Edel Recording Studios include “Mr Turner” and “Jack Ryan.” Recent music supervision credits include “Belle”, “Paddington” and “What We Did On Our Holiday.”
Maggie Rodford served as a PRS Director for many years and was an active member of the PRS Executive Board. She was a member of the BAFTA Film Committee for six years and is currently Chairman of the BAFTA Archive, Heritage and Exhibition Committee. In 2012, Maggie was awarded the prestigious APRS Sound Fellowship.
For Cutting Edge Group:
Ross Johnson, email@example.com (310)854-4780,
For Air-Edel:Maggie Rodford, firstname.lastname@example.org +44 207 486 6466
Michelle Phan, a YouTube star and multi-media pioneer following her YouTube channel launch in 2007, has embarked on an exciting new co-venture with Cutting Edge Group in the form of the recently launched ‘Shift Music Group’.
Shift Music Group will leverage the power of social media to spread awareness for new and existing artists. Through the help of YouTube and its influencers, Shift will provide a unique platform for breakout acts and established artists to promote and share their music.
Philip Moross, the chief executive of CEG, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Late Night Alumni. Like all future artists we’ll support, Late Night Alumni encourages our concept of a collaborative creative community and we look forward to helping build their following.”
Late Night Alumni commented: “We have loved having our music be a part of Michelle’s videos over the years, as well as getting to know her personally. It has always been an organic and fun collaboration and we’re excited to team up with Michelle and Shift Music to release songs from our upcoming album.”
We are over the moon to announce that David Ayer’s World War II Tank-drama, Fury, starring Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf is currently top of the US box office, taking $23.7M in its first weekend!
The Hollywood Reporter published a brilliant article discussing the score for the film, containing a fascinating interview with composer Steven Price, this is the first new score from Steven since his Academy Award® win for Gravity.
Fury is currently showing across UK cinemas. The soundtrack is being released by Varese Sarabande.