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.

  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.

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

  1. Beyonce
  2. Timbaland
  3. Justin Timberlake
  4. Olivia Newton-John
  5. Producer/songwriter Nicky Chinn
  6. Leo Sayer
  7. Songwriter Alee Willis
  8. Producer Bob Ezrin
  9. Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
  10. Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction)
  11. Tom Cochrane
  12. Boston
  13. Styx
  14. Rihanna
  15. Ariana Grande
  16. Kendrick Lamar
  17. Pat Benatar
  18. Otis Redding
  19. Producer/songwriter/performer Jack Antonoff
  20. Producer Jimmy Iovine
  21. Journey
  22. Steve Winwood
  23. Tom DeLonge
  24. The Chainsmokers
  25. Producer Brendan O’Brien
  26. Bernard Edwards (Chic)
  27. B-52s
  28. Kaiser Chiefs
  29. Mark Ronson
  30. Nikki Sixx
  31. Skrillex
  32. Rick James
  33. 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.

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