Its raining catalogue deals for International music artistes. The latest to join the bandwagon, which spells millions for the performers, is American singer-song writer-producer John Legend, who’s known for chartbusters such as ‘Get Lifted’ and ‘Love in the Future’.
Legend has sold the rights of his music to two companies – global investment firm KKR and music company BMG, each of them acquiring a 50 per cent stake in the artiste’s catalogue for an undisclosed fee.
The two companies had earlier come together to purchase the publishing rights and back catalogue of the American rock band ZZ Top in December 2021.
Under the partnership, KKR plans to invest in the catalogue through its private credit investment funds and vehicles. It will own its interest in music through Chord Music Partners, a recently launched platform of the global investment firm.
BMG also recently acquired the rights to the back catalogues of Tina Turner. Known as the ‘queen of rock’n’roll’, the American-Swiss singer-songwriter sold her music catalogue spanning six decades, including hits such as ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’ and ‘Private Dancer’ to BMG, according to ‘The Guardian’.
Turner also handed over her artiste’s and writer’s shares of her recordings and the management of her name, image and likeness, making it the largest deal ever with a single artiste in the history of BMG, a German music rights management company.
Similarly, the late David Bowie’s estate sold the publishing rights of the glam rock icon’s entire body of work to Warner Chappell Music for a reported $250 million.
The deal includes hundreds of songs from Bowie’s career that spanned six decades. The assets include classics like ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Changes’, ‘Life on Mars?’ and ‘Heroes’. Warner Chappell Music now owns Bowie’s work as a songwriter as well as a recording artiste.
The biggest deal in publishing sales, as reported earlier, has been secured by the rock legend Bruce Springsteen, who sold all of his recordings and publishing rights to Sony for a reported $500 million.
Sony now houses 20 of Springsteen’s studio albums, including evergreen classics such as ‘Born To Run’, ‘The River’ and ‘Born In The USA’, according to multiple US reports and bbc.com.
The practice of catalogue deals has been a part of the music industry, but what makes the latest publishing sales frenzy stand out is that it seems to be fetching record gains for musicians.
On the artiste’s part, the deals are seen as immediate financial security to them and their estates. The labels or corporate entities that buy the rights for really big bucks hope to profit from new revenue streams over the framework of film and TV licensing, merchandising, cover versions and performance royalties.