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The music rights market was on fireplace in 2021.

MBW estimates – primarily based on confirmed costs and knowledge from trade sources – that at least $5.05 billion was spent on catalog and music rights acquisitions throughout the 60-plus big-money offers we reported on throughout final yr.

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That determine consists of offers for particular person catalogs offered by artists and songwriters, plus acquisitions of music rights portfolios (together with these owned by energetic labels/publishers) by firms from different firms.

For clarification, the latter class included offers comparable to Warner Music Group‘s $400 million acquisition of 300 Entertainment, Concord’s $400 million acquisition of Downtown‘s catalog, Sony Music Group‘s nine-figure acquisitions of Todd Moscowitz’s Alamo Records and Brazilian label Som Livre, plus Kobalt‘s $1.1 billion catalog sale to KKR venture, Chord Music.

Close to half of MBW’s estimated $5.05 billion whole sum – some $2.33 billion – was spent on acquisitions of rights immediately from artists, songwriters and/or their estates.

And the tempo (and worth) of such offers is accelerating: In December alone (excluding WMG’s $400 million acquisition of 300), offers price at least $720 million have been struck for artist and songwriter catalog gross sales.

At least $500 million of that December tally got here from Bruce Springsteen’s confirmed sale of his complete masters-plus-publishing catalog to Sony Music Group (and Eldridge Industries), the primary time the half-a-billion greenback mark has been crossed for the catalog of a person artist.

Could there be an even bigger particular person artist catalog deal in 2022? And may the huge whole quantity spent on catalogs in 2021 be surpassed this yr?

There’s a great probability that it would.

The 2022 rights M&A market kicked into motion final week Monday (January 3) with the information that Warner Music Group, through its Warner Chappell Music subsidiary, had acquired the worldwide music publishing rights to David Bowie’s track catalog.

The worth of the deal was in the area of $250 million.

We additionally realized final week that US songwriter and performer John Legend had offered his songwriting catalog for an undisclosed charge to BMG and KKR.

That transaction happened in September 2021, suggesting that MBW’s $5.05 billion estimate above would possibly simply be the tip of the iceberg; clearly, as in the case of Legend’s sale, our quantity doesn’t take into consideration these artists/writers who offered a catalog… however determined to remain quiet about it.


As we put together for one more doubtlessly seismic yr for the catalog offers market, under MBW has printed an enormous listing of just about all of the music rights acquisitions that hit MBW’s headlines in 2021, inclusive of many costs that have been confirmed or – through MBW sources – rumored on the time.

This listing primarily fashioned the premise for our headline calculations in this story.

Before we get into all of that, although, just a few essential caveats on our quantity above, and our listing under:

  1. The under is definitely an intensive listing, overlaying because it does the overwhelming majority of M&A music offers lined by MBW in 2021, but it surely’s not an exhaustive one. There will be just a few huge cash catalog offers, for instance, that have been by no means confirmed or introduced on the behest of the author/artist in query, which doubtless add as much as tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars};
  2. We have discounted two big 2021 music biz offers from our listing/calculations, on the premise that they have been acquisitions of music firms that weren’t rights-ownership-led: The first is HYBE’s $1 billion acquisition of mega-manager Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings (which included rights through Big Machine and different Ithaca holdings, however appeared to be primarily led by Braun’s artist administration facility); the second is Sony Music Group’s $430 million acquisition of Kobalt’s AWAL and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, neither of which was a music rightsholder. Where doable, we additionally haven’t included acquisitions the place no underlying rights have been bought (e.g. BMG‘s acquisition of Mick Fleetwood’s private royalty stream for his recordings);
  3. We’ve solely included offers the place the shopping for social gathering acquires a large stake in the rights in query.

And now, right here it’s: that Big List O’ Deals you noticed lined on MBW in 2021…


December 2021: at least $710m in author/artist gross sales + $400m for 300 Entertainment

  • Tempo Music acquires publishing rights from producers Stefan Forrest, Morten Ristorp and Morten Pilegaard.
  • Sony Music buys complete Bruce Springsteen catalog for $500+ million. Sources counsel to MBW that the full quantity paid to Springsteen for the double acquisition was round $550 million.
  • BMG and KKR announce first joint acquisition: The ‘entire music interests’ of ZZ Top. Trusted trade specialists anticipate the KKR/BMG deal for ZZ Top carried a big eight-figure price-tag, doubtless across the $50 million mark.
  • Warner pays $400 million in money to amass 300 Entertainment.
  • Concord Music Publishing acquires catalog of Country singer-songwriter Andy Albert.
  • Reservoir acquires stake in publishing catalog of Fred Parris, Founder Of The Five Satins.
  • Primary Wave acquires stake in bundle of James Brown rights in $90 million deal.
  • Primary Wave’s scorching streak continues, as agency inks $20 million catalog deal with Survivor’s Jim Peterik.
  • Mojo Music & Media buys complete publishing catalog of songwriter and producer Jacknife Lee.
  • Round Hill Music acquires publishing catalog of Jellybean Benitez together with hits by Madonna and Whitney Houston.

November 2021: At least $150 million in author/artist gross sales


October 2021: At least $160 million in author/artist gross sales + $1.1 billion for Kobalt catalog

  • Primary Wave buys stake in Luther Vandross publishing and grasp recording revenue stream as a part of $40 million deal.
  • Kobalt sells catalog to new KKR enterprise, Chord, for $1.1 billion.
  • Primary Wave buys stake in Gerry Goffin catalog for $20 million.
  • Raleigh Music Publishing buys Lee Morris catalog together with hit Blue Velvet, recorded by Bobby Vinton and others.
  • Primary Wave buys stake in Bing Crosby property in $50m+ music deal.
  • BMG buys bundle of Tina Turner (pictured) rights in a deal that MBW estimates to be in the $50 million-and-above class.

September 2021: At least $140 million in artist/author gross sales, as Round Hill doubles down

  • Round Hill Royalty Fund buys The O’Jays (pictured) recordings catalog.
  • Round Hill Music Royalty Fund buys catalog from British producer and songwriter Tim Palmer.
  • Round Hill Music Royalty Fund acquires catalog of Dennis Elliott, former drummer of Foreigner.
  • Reservoir buys catalog of masters and publishing from Nashville’s Sorted Noise.
  • CTM Outlander buys New York-based publishing firm One77Music.
  • Hipgnosis Songs Fund has confirmed that in the April-September 2021 interval, it spent a complete of USD $260 million on music copyrights. These acquisitions included the under Christine McVie catalog, but in addition the track catalog of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a deal which is known to have value Hipgnosis round $140 million.

August 2021: at least $110m in author/artist gross sales

  • Primary Wave buys stake in Prince property, encompassing publishing, grasp recording revenue and extra
    • Primary Wave acquired “100% of the inheritance” of Prince’s youngest of six siblings, Omarr Baker, in addition to 90% of sister Tyka Nelson’s stake and 100% of the stake held by Alfred Jackson. An article from the Wall Street Journal adopted, stating that by means of these offers, “Primary Wave is lined up to own about 42%” of the legendary singer’s property, which the WSJ added is “valued somewhere between $100 million and $300 million”.
  • Tempo Music buys into music catalog of Twenty One Pilots’ singer-songwriter Tyler Joseph.
  • Hipgnosis buys a catalog from Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie. Judging by declared revenue figures for the catalog – and Hipgnosis’ typical a number of as per public filings – the deal would have value round $27 million.
  • Round Hill buys publishing catalog from Yes guitarist and movie composer Trevor Rabin.

July 2021: Primary Wave and Concord hold the M&A prepare transferring

  • Primary Wave acquires music publishing catalog of songwriter and producer Steve Kipner.
  • Concord Music Publishing acquires catalog of Grammy Award-winning songwriter Lori McKenna.
  • Primary Wave buys 50% stake in grasp recordings of musician Chris Isaak (pictured) in ‘multi-million dollar’ deal. MBW sources counsel this one bumped into the eight figures.

June 2021: At least $150 million in author/artist gross sales + Reservoir’s $100 million Tommy Boy purchase, and Sony‘s nine-figure Alamo swoop


May 2021: At least $50 million in writer/artist sales

  • Hipgnosis buys catalog from Grammy-winning producer Andy Wallace.
  • Round Hill Music acquires master recordings from Swedish label Telegram Studios.
  • Influence Media Partners buys catalog from Grammy-nominated songwriter Julia Michaels.
  • Primary Wave buys Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers catalog, including master royalty income stream across Rihanna’s first seven albums in ‘multi-million deal’.
  • Hipgnosis acquires 105 songs from Grammy-winner Andrew Watt in eight-figure deal; MBW estimates this at “upwards of $45 million”.

April 2021: $400 million for Downtown’s catalog, as Sony spends one other $255m

  • Concord buys Downtown’s owned music copyright catalog for round $400 million.
  • Primary Wave buys catalog of Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard in ‘multi-million-dollar deal’
  • After launching $100m fund, Influence Media buys catalog from Grammy-nominated songwriter Ali Tamposi.
  • Sony Music Group spends $255 million shopping for Som Livre, Brazil’s largest non-major-owned document label.

March 2021: At least $250 million in author/artist gross sales

  • Paul Simon (pictured) sells track catalog to Sony Music Publishing. Sony didn’t disclose the value of the deal, however sources inform MBW it was upwards of $200 million.
  • Round Hill Music acquires publishing catalog of Country songwriter and producer Zach Crowell.
  • Primary Wave buys majority stake in publishing catalog of Mark Morrison in ‘multi-million dollar deal’.
  • Irving Azoff buys once more, as Iconic snaps up Linda Ronstadt recorded music rights.
  • Hipgnosis buys catalog of Nobody Does It Better author Carole Bayer Sager, doubtless for round $10 million.
  • Reach Music buys 50% curiosity in track catalog of Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton.
  • David Crosby sells catalog to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group, together with recorded music and publishing rights.

February 2021: At least $100 million in author/artist gross sales + Round Hill’s $282 million splurge

  • Irving Azoff buys Beach Boys rights in what appears to be like more likely to be a $100 million-plus deal.
  • Primary Wave buys catalog from Wilson Phillips members Chynna Phillips and Carnie Wilson.
  • Round Hill’s UK-listed fund begins shopping for, spending $282 million on hits recorded by The Beatles, Marvin Gaye and extra.
  • Round Hill acquires catalog of Massive Attack members Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall.

January 2021: At least $420m in author/artist gross sales + Primary Wave’s $30 million Sun Records purchase

  • Primary Wave buys legendary Sun Records in $30 million deal, together with masters for Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis.
  • Sony/ATV indicators new cope with songwriter Mark James, acquires rights for 3 of his songs.
  • Wise Music Group acquires Zombies catalog in cope with Bocu Group.
  • Hipgnosis acquires catalog from Michael Bublé and Metallica producer Bob Rock.
  • Round Hill acquires catalog of US band Collective Soul.
  • Primary Wave acquires catalog of Jon Lind, together with hits by Earth, Wind & Fire and Madonna.
  • UMPG buys catalog of songwriter and producer Louis Bell, together with hits by Post Malone and The Jonas Brothers.
  • Primary Wave buys 50% stake in publishing catalog of Grammy-nominated songwriter KT Tunstall.
  • Round Hill buys catalog of Billy Duffy, songwriter and guitarist with UK rock band, The Cult.
  • Hipgnosis buys 100% of Shakira’s publishing catalog, spanning 145 songs.
  • KKR buys majority stake in Ryan Tedder catalog, marking funding big’s return to music rights possession. Reuters estimated the deal measurement at $200 million.
  • Round Hill buys catalog of Bryan Adams songwriting accomplice Jim Vallance.
  • Primary Wave buys publishing catalog of Grammy Award-winning songwriter Dan Wilson, together with hits by Adele.
  • Hipgnosis acquires 50% of Neil Young’s (pictured) track catalog for round $150 million.
  • Hipgnosis absolutely acquires Lindsey Buckingham track catalog, together with 100% author and writer share of Fleetwood Mac hits.
  • Jimmy Iovine sells producer catalog royalties to Hipgnosis.

Music Business Worldwide



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