September 29, 2023
Music Industry

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)

[If you’re seeing this in your feed again, it’s because another deal has gone down. -AC]

The music world is being shaken by the actions by a growing group of companies which 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. They also enjoy certain (and potentially enormous) tax advantages, too, thanks to certain capital gains laws. 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 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 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 that I’m updating as new deals are announced via news stories and press releases.

  1. Bob Dylan (100% of his publishing catalogue to Universal Music Publishing) est. US$300-400 million. UPDATE: On January 24, 2022, Sony acquired his master recordings. That’s worth another ~US$200 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
  50. Motley Crue (recordings catalogue to BMG), US$90 million.
  51. Jim Peterik of Survivor and 38 Special (a big stake in songs like “Eye of the Tiger” to Primary Wave), US$20 million.
  52. James Brown (a stake in his publishing to Primary Wave), estimated at US$90 million.
  53. Bruce Springsteen (300 songs, 20 studio albums, 23 live albums and more to Sony), estimated at US$500 million.
  54. ZZ Top (their “entire music interests” to both BMG and KKR), estimated at US$50 million.
  55. David Bowie (his entire catalogue to Warner-Chappell), US$250 million.
  56. John Legend (his music catalogue to BMG and KKR), price undisclosed.
  57. Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman (a partnership with Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  58. Nancy Wilson of Heart (a “significant share” song catalogue to Round Hill Music), price undisclosed.
  59. Paul Rodgers, famous for his time in Free and Bad Company (a stake in his publishing catalogue to Primary Wave), US$20 million
  60. Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America (their entire catalogue, including songs like “Horse with No Name” to Primary Wave), US$40 million.
  61. Kenney Chesney (80% of recorded music royalties from 2014-2017 to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed.
  62. Travis Tritt (publishing catalogue to Reservoir), price undisclosed.
  63. Luis Fonsi, the “Despacito” guy (publishing catalogue to HarbourView Equity Partners), perhaps for as much as US$100 million.
  64. Murda Beatz (producer for Drake and Migos, 285 songs) to Kilometre Music Group), price undisclosed.
  65. Def Leppard (an “additional stake” in their music publishing catalogue to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  66. Robbie Robertson of The Band (publishing, name/image/likeness, and recorded music interests to Iconoclast), price undisclosed.
  67. The estates of Layne Staley and Mike Starr (both now-dead members of Alice in Chains, catalogue stakes in the band’s songs to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  68. And the rest of Alice in Chains’ music (everyone else, selling to Round Hill) in a deal rumoured to be US$50 million.
  69. James Newton Howard, movie composer (all music income and copyrights to Multimedia Music), price undisclosed.\
  70. Sting (entire music catalogue to Universal Music Publishing), >US$300 million.
  71. John Lee Hooker (all music interests to BMG), price undisclosed.
  72. Jason Aldeen (90% of music catalogues plus masters to Spirit Music Group), >US$100 million.
  73. Neil Diamond (complete song catalogue and all master recordings to Universal), possibly north of US$300 million.
  74. Lionel Hampton, Thelonious Monk, and other jazz greats (catalogues of Regent Music and Jewel Music to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  75. Leonard Cohen (278 songs, including “Hallelujah,” which has been covered over 300 times to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed.
  76. Martina McBride (master royalties to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  77. The estate of Nat King Cole (catalogue to Iconic Artists Group), price undisclosed.
  78. Swedish House Mafia (catalogue and masters to Pophouse), price undisclosed.
  79. Bob Dylan’s share of the Traveling Wilburys catalogue (to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  80. Country songwriter Ashley Gorley (catalogue to Sony and Domain Capital), possibly US$40 million.
  81. Justin Timberlake (everything to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed, although the rumour is US$100 million.
  82. Julian Casablancas of The Strokes (his Strokes stakes to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  83. Tom Whitlock, composer of “Danger Zone” and other movie music (sale of Primary Way), price undisclosed.
  84. Frank Zappa (recordings, song catalogue, 1,000+ hours of audio and video to Universal Music), price undisclosed.
  85. Simple Minds (“key music interests” to BMG), price undisclosed.
  86. Jean-Michel Jarre (entire publishing catalogue to BMG), price undisclosed.
  87. Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, and The Cult (publishing and recorded music rights to Reservoir), price undisclosed.
  88. Brad Paisley (music catalogue to HarborView Equity Partners). The rumoured price is US$25 million.
  89. Lady A (music catalogue to HarborView Equity Partners) price undisclosed.
  90. Deryck Whibley, the chief songwriter of Sum 41 (publishing and recorded music catalogue to HarbourView Equity Partners), price undisclosed.
  91. Chuck D of Public Enemy (a chunk of his share in PE songs to Reach Music Publishing), price undisclosed.
  92. Future (612 songs to Influence Media Partners), selling price in the “eight figures.”
  93. Avicii (75% of the late artist’s masters and publishing to Pophouse Entertainment), price undisclosed.
  94. Genesis–Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford–(rights to Concord), for an estimated US$300 million.
  95. Blake Shelton (rights to his recording catalogue to Influence Media Partners), price undisclosed.
  96. Joey Ramone (publishing catalogue to Primary Wave), at least US$10 million.
  97. Louis Prima (recording and publishing catalogue to Reservoir), price undisclosed.
  98. Huey Lewis and the News (the band’s entire catalogue to 1994 to Primary Wave), at least $20 million.
  99. Country songwriter Ashley Gorley (catalogue to Domain Capital), around $40 million.
  100. Harry Nilsson (entire catalogue to BMG), price undisclosed.
  101. Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill of Boy Meets Girl (about 60 hit songs they wrote for Whitney Houston), estimated US$50-100 million.
  102. Iggy Azalea (recorded works and publishing to Domain Capital), a reported “eight-figure deal.”
  103. Peter Frampton (a whack of his stuff to BMG), price undisclosed.
  104. Keith Urban (master recordings catalogue to Litmus music), price undisclosed.
  105. Justin Bieber (interests in his publishing and recorded music catalogue to Hipgnosis), a reported US$200 million.
  106. Producer Steve Lillywhite (his share of royalties from albums by U2, Dave Matthews, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, The Killers, Peter Gabriel, Morrissey, and a ton of others to Round Hill), price undisclosed.
  107. Dr. Dre (catalogue assets to Universal Music and Shamrock holdings), estimated US$200 million.
  108. Robbie Krieger and the estate of Ray Manzarek of The Doors (music publishing catalog, recordings, trademarks, and merchandise rights and income, among other things to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  109. Yes (everything relating to their Atlantic output to Warner), price undisclosed.
  110. Justin Bieber (catalogue to Hipgnosis) for an estimated “nine-figure deal.” I’ve seen US$200 million thrown around.
  111. Dion (catalogue to Reservoir), price undisclosed.
  112. TMS, the British songwriting team (catalogue to Hipgnoisis), price undisclosed.
  113. Stevie Van Zandt (music publishing, music catalogues, and a portion of his name and likeness rights), a “multi-million dollar deal.”
  114. Tobias Jesso Jr, Grammy songwriter of the year (catalogue to Hipgnosis, numbering “around 40” hit songs), price undisclosed.
  115. Christorpher Cross (full catalogue to Seeker music), price undisclosed.
  116. Warren Cuccurullo of Duran Duran and Missing Persons along with a ton of other artists with song going back to the 1950s (catalogues to Mojo Music and Media), price undisclosed.
  117. John Sebastian (catalogue sold to AMR Songs), price undisclosed.
  118. Emmy-winning composer Sean Callery (catalogue and income streams from tons of TV and movie work), price undisclosed.
  119. Midge Ure, Ultravox frontman and co-writer of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” (entire catalogue to MusicBird), price undisclosed
  120. Corey Hart (music publishing catalogue of approximately 200 songs to Peer Music), price undisclosed..
  121. Erika Ender, co-writer of “Despacito” among others (catalogue to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed.
  122. Sarah McLachlan (majority stake in catalogue to Primary Wave), price undisclosed.
  123. Emmy-winning composer Trevor Morris (catalogue and income streams to Multimedia Music) in an “eight-figure deal.”
  124. Composer David Foster (writer’s share of catalogue to Hipgnosis), price undisclosed.
  125. Judas Priest (everything relating to their first two albums to Reach Music Publishing), price undisclosed.
  126. Charlotte Caffey, lead singer and primary songwriter of the The Go-Go’s (masters and publishing to Seeker Music), price undisclosed.
  127. Songwriter Jamie Hartman, who was written songs for Backstreet Boys, Lewis Capaldi, Calvin Harris, and many others (music publishing rights to Cutting Edge Media Music), in an eight-figure deal.
  128. Timbaland (additional interests in his publishing catalogue sold to Anthem), price undisclosed.
  129. Grammy Award-winning songwriter Shane McAnally (catalogue to CTM Outlander), price undisclosed.
  130. The Hollies (back catalogue to BMG), price undisclosed.
  131. Paul Simon (a “substantial” portion of his catalogue to BMG, price undisclosed.
  132. The estate of Joe Cocker (some kind of agreement with Iconic Artists), price undisclosed.
  133. George Brown of Kool & The Gang (catalogue deal with Primary Wave), in a “multi-million-dollar deal.”
  134. Logic (catalogue to Influence Media) in an “eight-figure deal.”
  135. Grammy Award-winning songwriter Fraser T. Smith, who whose material has been recorded by Adele, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Drake, Florence + The Machine, Gorillaz and Sam Smith (catalogue to CTM Outlander), price undisclosed.
  136. Cher (a “range of music assets to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artist’s Group), price undisclosed.
  137. Veteran movie and TV composer J. Peter Robinson (catalogue to Multimedia Music), mid-to-high seven figures.
  138. The late Dan Fogelberg (catalogue deal with Iconic Artists). price undisclosed.
  139. Giorgio Moroder, producer and electronic music pioneer (producer royalties and more to Iconoclast), price undisclosed.
  140. Tom Higgenson, frontman for Plain White T’s (a portion of his publishing catalogue including “Here There Delilah to Concord), price undisclosed.
  141. Dennis DeYoung of Styx (publishing for the majority of his compositions to Primary Wave), prince undisclosed.
  142. Katy Perry (a “bundle of music rights” to Litmus Music) for ~$225 million.
  143. Jet (a “landmark catalogue deal” to BMG), price undisclosed.

Special Notes:

  • Hipgnosis was kind enough to send me this list of all the catalogues it has purchased to date.
  • Concord is bought Round Hil. That’s a helluva merger. Read more here.
  • Concord bought the music publishing catalogue of Mojo Music & Media. Read more here.

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

  1. Beyonce
  2. Justin Timberlake
  3. Olivia Newton-John
  4. Producer/songwriter Nicky Chinn
  5. Leo Sayer
  6. Songwriter Alee Willis
  7. Producer Bob Ezrin
  8. Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
  9. Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction)
  10. Tom Cochrane
  11. Boston
  12. Styx
  13. Rihanna
  14. Ariana Grande
  15. Kendrick Lamar
  16. Pat Benatar
  17. Otis Redding
  18. Producer/songwriter/performer Jack Antonoff
  19. Producer Jimmy Iovine
  20. Journey
  21. Steve Winwood
  22. Tom DeLonge
  23. The Chainsmokers
  24. Producer Brendan O’Brien
  25. Bernard Edwards (Chic)
  26. B-52s
  27. Kaiser Chiefs
  28. Mark Ronson
  29. Nikki Sixx
  30. Skrillex
  31. Rick James
  32. Korn

Here’s another running list that you might find helpful.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 37121 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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