Lorde makes king’s ransom in royalty deal: report

WELLINGTON - Chart-topping New Zealand teenager Lorde has landed a multi-million dollar contract for the rights to her songs, it has been reported.

The Auckland singer-songwriter, who turned 17 last week, signed with boutique music publisher Songs Music in a deal believed to be worth around US$4 million (S$5 million) after a fierce bidding war involving major labels, the Wall Street Journal said.

It said the size of the sum is remarkable because Lorde, whose hit "Royals" has spent six weeks at number one in the US charts, co-writes most of her songs with collaborator Joel Little, meaning she owns only 50 per cent of the copyright for the compositions.

Lorde's manager Tim Youngson said the singer, whose real name is Ella Yelich O'Connor, opted for New York-based Songs Music for creative, not commercial reasons.

"Even before signing her they were bringing her options for collaborations and introducing her to other songwriters," he told the newspaper. "The decision wasn't made on money."

Lorde signed a recording contract with Universal in New Zealand as a 12-year-old, achieving a breakthrough this year with the release of "Royals" and her debut album "Pure Heroine".

Music publishing deals such as the one signed by Lorde give a company the right to license songs and ensure that a fee is paid when they are used commercially, which is usually split between the writer and the company.