NEW YORK — Sony BMG Music Entertainment has licensed the complete catalog of music from Philadelphia International Records, the label founded by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971, Billboard has learned. This marks the first time that the entire PIR catalog — which includes hits by Patti LaBelle, the O’Jays, MFSB, Billy Paul and others — is under one roof.
Under the terms of the multiyear arrangement, Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s Commercial Music Group and Legacy Recordings will issue physical and digital recordings of PIR material. The deal also extends to ringtones (another PIR first), PDA applications, synch licenses and branded entertainment.
The partnership launches in October with two double-disc compilations: “The Essential Lou Rawls” and “The Essential Teddy Pendergrass.” Additionally, 50 digital releases (original albums and collections) will be ready for download by year’s end.
Some previously unreleased recordings, including a live set from LaBelle and a Phyllis Hyman album, also will make their commercial debuts.
“The sounds of PIR are a vital and indispensable part of American pop music history,” Sony BMG Music Entertainment president John Ingrassia said.