Matt Pincus is currently an Executive in Residence at LionTree. Most recently, he was the Founder and CEO of SONGS Music Publishing until the company’s exit to Kobalt Capital, Ltd. in December 2017. At the time of its sale, SONGS was the leading independent music publisher of contemporary music in the United States.
Matt founded SONGS in 2004. Under his leadership, SONGS made itself a contender by pursuing an innovative strategy for a music publishing startup: signing songwriting deals with young contemporary hitmakers like The Weeknd, Lorde, Diplo, and DJ Mustard rather than buying old catalogs of existing songs. Competing against giants like Universal, Warner/Chappell and Sony/ATV, which each control millions of song copyrights, SONGS became a powerful niche player, building a wide portfolio of contemporary hits including “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Royals,” and “Lean On”. According to rankings by Billboard, SONGS had a stake in at least 3.5 percent of the top 100 songs played by radio stations in the United States for 10 of the last 12 quarters of its operations, peaking at 5.41% of US radio play in Q4 2016. During that time, SONGS held the largest market share by copyright outside of the three major publishers.
With its exit to Kobalt, SONGS became one of the highest-returning investments in a startup music publishing company, with a 27% IRR on a total capitalization of just over $20M.
During his time at SONGS, Matt was a longtime member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), and the Songwriters Hall of Fame - the only contemporary independent publisher to simultaneously hold all three seats. Through his board service, numerous published Op-Eds, and his 2015 testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate, Matt is widely known as a strenuous advocate for fair and equitable pay for songwriters and independent publishers. In a nod to his roots as the bass player for the seminal New York hardcore band Judge, Matt created Know Your Rights, a not-for-profit initiative aimed at getting storied hardcore and punk artists paid for their streaming music.
Before SONGS, Matt was a Strategy Associate at EMI Group, plc, one of the four major global music companies. Prior to that, he founded Some Records, an independent record label, and Ultra14, an Internet marketing firm. Matt started his career as a writer and Assistant Editor at New York Magazine. In 2002, he earned an MBA from Columbia Business School. Matt serves on the Board of Directors of the Public Theater.