Here’s a running list of artists who have sold some or all of their song catalogues to a new breed of company. (Updated as required)

The music world is being shaken by the actions of half a dozen or so companies who are buying up the song catalogues of successful artists. The artist gets a huge infusion of cash upfront which takes away financial pressures for the rest of their lives. It’s then up to these companies to exploit the value in these songs in order to make their money back and turn a profit.

These faceless companies have names like Concord Music, Primary Wave, Round Hill, Eldridge Industries, Round Hill Music, and most notably, Hipgnosis, which is run by Quebec-born Merck Mercuriadis. They’ve spent BILLIONS (US$4 billion and counting) on acquiring song catalogues over the last two years or so.

For a deeper dive into the situation, you can read my Global article on the subject here. This article from Variety also goes deep into these sales.

Who has cashed out and for how much? Here’s a running list.

  1. Bob Dylan (100% of his catalogue to Universal Music Publishing) est. US$400-450 million
  2. Neil Young (50% of his career catalogue to Hipgnosis), est. US$150 million
  3. Stevie Nicks (a majority stake in her songs to Primary Wave), US$100 million
  4. Imagine Dragons (everything they’ve done up until now), US$100 million
  5. Whitney Houston (her entire catalogue to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  6. David Crosby (everything he’s done to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed.
  7. Disturbed (entire catalogue to Primary Wave), price undisclosed
  8. The Killers (all releases up until 2020 to Eldridge Industries), price undisclosed
  9. Lindsey Buckingham (his Fleetwood Mac songs along with his solo material), price undisclosed
  10. Barry Manilow (entire catalogue to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  11. Richie Sambora (everything he did with Bon Jovi to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  12. Dave Stewart (everything he’s done with Eurthymics and beyond to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  13. Blondie (197 songs to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  14. Chrissie Hynde (everything she did with The Pretenders to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  15. Air Supply (a portion of their catalogue to Primary Wave), price undisclosed
  16. Culture Club (a portion of the band’s publishing and master recording income to Primary Wave), price undisclosed
  17. Devo (a chunk of their catalogue to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  18. Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams’ songwriting partner (his share of songs he wrote with Adams to Round Hill), price undisclosed
  19. Ryan Tedder, songwriter for OneRepublic and others (to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  20. Shakria (100% of 145 songs to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  21. KT Tunstall (50% of her catalogue to Primary wave), price undisclosed
  22. Mick Fleetwood (his share of Fleetwood Mac songwriting to BMG), price undisclosed.
  23. Ed Roland (all the music he wrote for Collective Soul to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  24. Bob Rock (100% of his rights to Metallica’s black album and four Michael Buble albums to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed
  25. Sun Records (including all the masters from Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis to Primary Wave), US$30 million.
  26. Massive Attack (two-thirds of their catalogue to Round Hill), price undisclosed.
  27. Silverchair (entire catalogue to Sony), price undisclosed.
  28. Beach Boys (EVERYTHING. All IP to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists), price undisclosed.
  29. David Crosby (everything from his solo career, CSN, The Byrds, and more to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists), price undisclosed.
  30. Glenn Tipton, guitarist with Judas Priest (50% of his song catalogue to Reach Music) price undisclosed.
  31. Carole Bayer Sager, songwriter (catalogue to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed.
  32. Linda Ronstadt (catalogue to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Arists), at least US$50 million.
  33. Paul Simon (everything to Sony Music Publishing), price undisclosed.
  34. Patrick Leonard, one of Madonna’s collaborators (everything to Primary Wave), in a “multi-million-dollar deal.”
  35. Red Hot Chili Peppers (all pre-2020 material to Hipgnosis), US$140 million.
  36. Andrew Watt, Grammy Award-winning songwriter for Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, and others (105 songs to Hipgnosis), in an “eight-figure deal.”
  37. David Guetta (catalogue to Warner Music), US$100 million.
  38. Chris Issak (50% stake in master recordings to Primary Wave), in a “multi-million-dollar deal.
  39. Prince’s estate, (almost 50% stake of rights to name and likeness, masters, and publishing to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  40. Christine McVIe of Fleetwood Mac (115 songs to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed. This means four out of five members of the band have now sold their catalogues.
  41. Trevor Rabin (3,528 film cues and songs to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  42. The O’Jays (532 studio recording to Round Hill Music), price undisclosed.
  43. Tina Turner (a huge chunk of her stuff to BMG), price undisclosed.
  44. The Weeknd, Drake, Justin Bieber (a whack of hit songs to Kilometre Music group), price undisclosed.
  45. Bing Crosby (LOTS of stuff to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  46. Gerry Goffin (a stake to Primary Wave), US$20 million.
  47. Luther Vandross (a stake to Primary Wave), US$40 million.
  48. Mike Scott of The Waterboys (a stake to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  49. Jeff Porcaro, the late drummer of Toto (catalogue to Primary Wave), US$30 million

Other artists who have sold as little as a single song to big chunks of their catalogues:

  • Beyonce
  • Timbaland
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • Producer/songwriter Nicky Chinn
  • Leo Sayer
  • Songwriter Alee Willis
  • Producer Bob Ezrin
  • Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
  • Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction)
  • Tom Cochrane
  • Boston
  • Styx
  • Rihanna
  • Ariana Grande
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Pat Benetar
  • Otis Redding
  • Producer/songwriter/performer Jack Antonoff
  • Producer Jimmy Iovine
  • Journey
  • Steve Winwood
  • Tom DeLonge
  • The Chainsmokers
  • Producer Brendan O’Brien
  • Bernard Edwards (Chic)
  • B-52s
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Mark Ronson
  • Nikki Sixx
  • Skrillex
  • Rick James

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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