‘Sing’ a Chorus of 60 Shiny Tunes

Melinda Newman safaried to the heart of song licensing territory for Billboard, reporting “From the Desk of…”  Universal Film Group President of Music and Publishing Mike Knobloch, who presided over the licensing feat of what is believed to be a record-setting 60 songs for the animation motion picture Sing.

The Dec. 21 Universal Pictures release has a funky moment with Stevie Wonder’s “Faith.” The new song — the maestro’s first for film in 14 years, since 2002’s “Justice of the Heart” (written with Brenda Russell for Nick Cassavetes’ medical insurance crime thriller, John Q). “Faith” features performances by grandmaster Wonder and it-girl Ariana Grande (just loved her in last week’s Hairspray Live (NBC).

The film features voice performances by critter-channeling Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon in a tale that revolves around the staging of a massive singing contest. Although none of these stars is known primarily as a singer, who could forget Witherspoon’s superlative vocal performance in Walk the Line? (Even Johansson has her own band, Sugar for Sugar).

Aside from McConaughey, the leads did manage to make it onto the standard soundtrack (along with Jennifer Hudson, Wonder, and the Spencer Davis Group). Newman manages to get Knobloch to divulge his marketing plans: a special double-soundtrack to Sing, as well as a Target exclusive and a karaoke release. See the official Republic Records tracklists, and read the full story from the Dec. 10 issue of Billboard.

Worth a click, if only to read the revealing exchange over soundtrack budgets, wherein Newman asks how much, and Knobloch responds (admirably!), “As much as I can get them to give us!” (Full disclosure, exclamation ours.)

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