Paul Westerberg, circa 2009

Paul Westerberg this week signed a new deal with Bug Music Publishing — which bills itself as the “largest independent contemporary music publisher in the world” — that encompasses all of the rocker’s solo works, recordings with The Replacements and anything he does in the future.

Bug Music owns and administers more than 250,000 copyrights to songs by the likes of Johnny Cash, Pete Townshend, Wilco, Ryan Adams and Iggy Pop.

In a press statement, Bug VP Eddie Gomez said, “We look forward to working with Paul’s Replacements and solo catalogs. Paul is a major link in a respected chain of modern songwriters and his songwriting continues to resonate and influence a whole new generation of listeners.”

In typically wry fashion, Westerberg issued his own statement:

“To be a musician, performer, and songwriter is a juggling act. Throw in the bowling ball of publisher and it becomes downright work. The good people at Bug Music — I hear only of their imagination and proficiency — have stepped in to facilitate with Dry Wood, Elegant Mule and Nah Music, leaving me free to augment my juggling feat with the flaming chain saw of snooker.”

What this means for any forthcoming Westerberg releases or ‘Mats reissues remains unclear. The musician has been somewhat erratic in recent years, sticking to soundtrack work (like Open Season: Featuring the Songs of Paul Westerberg) and issuing self-released music on the Web with little fanfare, such as last fall’s PW & The Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys. At the very least, there’s a good chance we’ll hear more of Westerberg’s music licensed out to soundtracks and possibly even commercials in the coming years.

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