There’s been a giant rush to buy up the publishing catalogues by big-name artists. Companies like Hipgnosis, Primary Wave, Conchord, and a few others have been shelling out hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to control the rights of major hit songs. (I have a running list here.)
The latest group to cash out is the Beach Boys. But they didn’t stop at just selling their publishing. They upped the ante by selling everything.
In a deal (which might be the first of its kind), the Beach Boys sold their publishing, master recordings, memorabilia, merch, and even the band’s image and likeness. In other words, they sold the entire Beach Boys brand and all intellectual property. The buyer is Iconic Artists Group, the newly-launched company run by super manager Irving Azoff.
The price hasn’t been disclosed but Bloomberg believes the deal is worth at least US$100 million and maybe as high as US$200 million.
Why would they do this? A couple of reasons:
- All the Beach Boys are well into their senior years. This money will make sure that they and their heirs are comfortable forever.
- This fixes a travesty carried by by the Wilson brothers’ father, Murry (yes, that’s how you spell his name). Back in 1969, he sold the Beach Boys’ publishing company to A&M Records for a paltry US$700,000. That move created all kinds of internal issues within the band. Now everyone has enough money to be happy.
- The Beach Boys fractured long ago. Mike Love has toured under the name “Beach Boys” while Brian Wilson has toured solo.
- By having all Beach Boys IP in one place, Azoff’s company can make sure that the band’s legacy is ensured and that the marketplace can be properly flooded with Beach Boys material. Like how? Iconic CEO Oliver Chastan says “That includes VR, AR, 3D, CGI, natural language processing. That, to me, is probably the most interesting aspect of what’s going to transform our business. In five years, I could send you a text and say, ‘At 2 p.m., let’s put our Oculus Rift glasses on, and let’s go see the Beach Boys record ‘Good Vibrations’ at Western Recorders.’”
Interesting move. Any other artists willing to do the same?