The Sound Of Money

Foreign investors, who have been snapping up U.S. assets ranging from skyscrapers to forests, are latching onto more ethereal pieces of Americana: popular songs. In two takeovers last week, the publishing rights to nearly 300,000 American tunes passed into foreign hands.

CBS Records, which last year became a subsidiary of Japan's Sony, agreed to pay more than $35 million for Tree International, the last big independent country-music publisher in Nashville. The Tree catalog contains some 35,000 songs, including such hits as Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, Roger Miller's King of the Road and Willie Nelson's Crazy. Says CBS Records president Tommy Mottola:...

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