With global recorded music revenues reaching an all-time high of approximately $28.6 billion in 2023 and forecasted to double by 2030, it’s no surprise that investors are increasingly turning their attention to the music industry and music rights as a viable, valuable asset class.

In particular, the music catalog sales market has seen remarkable growth, becoming a multi-billion dollar industry that attracts a wide range of investors—from private equity firms to traditional music companies. We’ve already seen several high-profile acquisitions in the past few years, such as Universal Music Group’s acquisition of Bob Dylan’s catalog for approximately $400-300 million in 2020 and Concord Music Group’s acquisition of Phil Collins/Genesis’ catalog for approximately $300 million in 2022.

This trend continues, as we see some of the most iconic music catalog sales ever recorded happening just in the early half of 2024.

1. Neil Finn of Crowded House and Split Enz strikes a multi-million dollar music rights deal with Primary Wave

About Neil Finn

Neil Finn is a founding member of the iconic band Crowded House, which brought us timeless classics like "Don’t Dream It’s Over" and "Weather With You". He started his musical journey with the New Zealand pop/new wave band Split Enz, contributing significantly to their success.

Over the years, his work has resonated globally, with "Don’t Dream It’s Over" released in 1986, becoming an international anthem later covered by artists like Ariana Grande & Miley Cyrus, and Sixpence None the Richer. This track not only reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 but also climbed to No. 1 in several countries, cementing Finn's status as a prolific songwriter. The track has amassed around 562 million plays on Spotify to date.

Details of the deal

It was reported in April 2024 that Primary Wave acquired significant assets from Neil Finn’s esteemed catalog in a multi-million dollar transaction. This deal includes Finn’s music publishing catalog and his writer's share of public performance royalties for his works with Crowded House and his solo projects. Key hits such as "Don’t Dream It’s Over" and "Weather With You" are included in this deal.

The partnership with Primary Wave opens up new avenues for Finn’s music, leveraging the firm’s marketing team and extensive publishing infrastructure. This includes opportunities in digital strategy, licensing, synchronization, and potentially film & TV production, ensuring that Finn’s musical legacy continues to thrive and reach new audiences.

2. Neil Sedaka sells a stake in his catalog to Primary Wave

About Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka's career began in 1957 and has since sold millions of records worldwide. He has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and other artists, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Tom Jones, ABBA, The Monkees, and The Captain & Tennille.

Some of Sedaka's biggest hits include "Oh! Carol," "Calendar Girl," "Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen," and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do".

The National Academy of Popular Music has twice honored Sedaka, first with his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and in 2004 with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding work in furthering the successes of songwriters. Sedaka has also received five Grammy Award nominations.

Details of the deal

The deal with Primary Wave includes the music publishing rights for all compositions written by Neil Sedaka, as well as the master recording rights for all recordings performed by him. [x] The deal, published in April 2024, may also include branding rights over Sedaka's name and likeness.

Through this deal, Sedaka gains access to Primary Wave's marketing team and publishing infrastructure, which includes digital strategy, licensing, synchronization opportunities, and film & TV production.

The key individuals involved in the deal are Madeline Boyd, the Finance & Investments Manager at Primary Wave, and Lawrence 'Larry' Mestel, the Founder & CEO of Primary Wave.

3. Village People strikes a deal with Primary Wave for their publishing, recorded music, name, and likeness

About Village People

Village People, the sensational music group that rocketed to fame in 1977, has left an indelible mark on the global music scene with their disco-inspired hits. Over the decades, they have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Among their iconic songs, "Y.M.C.A." stands out as a cultural phenomenon, having sold over 12 million copies and amassed around 362 million plays on Spotify to date. Their music continues to resonate with audiences globally, celebrating the vibrant energy of disco.

Details of the deal

In a strategic move, Primary Wave has acquired significant assets from Village People, including the brand, name and likeness rights, master recordings, and publishing assets. This comprehensive deal, reported in February 2024, covers the entirety of their illustrious career and aims to rejuvenate their brand in the contemporary music landscape. [x]

The deal brings together Jonathan and Anthony Belolo of Village People with Lexi Todd, VP of Business & Legal Affairs at Primary Wave. Lexi Todd highlighted the timing of this partnership, stating, "With disco-inspired music all over the contemporary charts, now is the perfect time to launch our new partnership. We look forward to working alongside Jonathan and Anthony to reinvigorate the Village People brand."

This acquisition by Primary Wave not only preserves the legacy of Village People but also sets the stage for new projects and collaborations that will introduce their timeless music to new generations, capitalizing on the current resurgence of disco in the music industry.

4. KISS sells their song catalog, name, image, and likeness rights to Pophouse Entertainment in a $300M deal

About KISS

KISS, an iconic rock band whose career catapulted to fame in 1973, has been a dominant force in the music industry, with over 100 million records sold worldwide. Known for their elaborate live performances and distinctive makeup, KISS has left a lasting imprint on rock music. Their track "Rock and Roll All Nite" has become an anthem, amassing 474M streams on Spotify, exemplifying their influence and reach.

What’s involved in the deal

In a landmark deal valued at over $300 million, Pophouse Entertainment has secured a vast array of assets from KISS as reported in April 2024. This includes their song catalog, name, image, and likeness rights, intellectual property, and the artist's share of the master recordings and publishing rights. These elements capture the essence of KISS’s enduring legacy and pave the way for innovative uses of their brand.

A pioneering aspect of the deal with Pophouse is the development of digital avatars for the KISS band members. This forward-thinking strategy will enable KISS to perform indefinitely, surpassing the physical limitations of the band members and ensuring their electrifying performances can continue to thrill fans new and old. Pophouse Entertainment has expressed a deep commitment to preserving KISS’ "iconic music, enigmatic personas, and expressive imagery for generations to come."

5. Tony Bennett Music assets acquired by Iconoclast in a multi-million dollar deal

About Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett, an illustrious figure in the music industry and celebrated jazz and traditional pop singer, is a 20-time Grammy winner (including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award). His career is highlighted by numerous accolades, including an Emmy Award and recognition as a Kennedy Center honoree. Bennett holds the distinctive honor of being the oldest artist to have an album reach No.1 on the Billboard Top 200 twice. His exceptional ability to have new albums chart across seven consecutive decades—from the 1950s to the 2020s—underscores his enduring appeal and versatility as an artist.

What’s involved in the deal

In a deal reportedly valued below $50 million, Iconoclast has acquired significant elements of Tony Bennett's rich musical legacy. This includes rights to certain sound recordings, associated sound recording royalties, his name, image, and likeness rights (NIL), as well as his archives and memorabilia. This strategic acquisition was announced in March 2024 and ensures that Bennett's contributions to music will be preserved and cherished for future generations.

The deal was facilitated by Oliver Chastan of Iconoclast, with the active involvement of Tony Bennett’s son and manager, Danny Bennett. Their collaboration underscores a shared vision to maintain and enhance Tony Bennett's storied career and legacy within the music industry.

This acquisition by Iconoclast is more than a business transaction; it is a commitment to honor Tony Bennett’s historical impact on music and culture. By managing Bennett's iconic assets, Iconoclast aims to introduce his timeless music to newer audiences, ensuring his legacy continues to inspire and resonate across diverse generations.

6. Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music strikes deal with Iconic Artists Group

About Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry emerged as a significant figure in the music scene during the 1970s as the creator, lead singer, and principal songwriter for the influential band Roxy Music. The band debuted with their self-titled album in 1972 and concluded their studio releases with the celebrated 1982 album, "Avalon." Beyond Roxy Music, Ferry's solo career has also been distinguished by numerous accolades, including a CBE in 2011 for his contributions to British music, the French honor of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2012, and an Honorary Doctor of Music from Newcastle University in 2014. Roxy Music's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019 further solidified Ferry’s status as a rock and roll luminary.

What’s involved in the deal

In a landmark agreement, the specifics of which remain undisclosed, Iconic Artists Group has secured 50% of Ferry’s sound recording and publishing rights, along with his name, image, and likeness rights. This deal, published in March 2024, marks a significant partnership intended to preserve and promote Bryan Ferry’s rich musical legacy.

The deal involves Bryan Ferry himself, ensuring that his artistic vision remains integral to the management of his catalog. Collaborating closely with Ferry are Jimmy Edwards of Iconic Artists Group and Beth Collins of The Azoff Company. Their collective expertise is poised to steward Ferry's assets, enhancing his influence and ensuring his music continues to inspire.

This strategic partnership promises to uphold and expand Bryan Ferry’s artistic legacy, leveraging his iconic status to reach new audiences and opportunities in the evolving music landscape.

7. Cyndi Lauper sells publishing catalog and master recording revenue to Pophouse Entertainment

About Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper, a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony-winning artist, has been a vibrant and influential figure in music and culture since the 1980s. Known for her eclectic fashion and powerful vocal style, Lauper’s hits like "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Time After Time," and "True Colors" have become anthems of empowerment and individuality. Her work has continually resonated with audiences, making her one of the most beloved and enduring figures in pop music.

What’s involved in the deal

Announced in February 2024, Pophouse Entertainment has secured a majority share of the revenue from Cyndi Lauper’s master recordings and publishing rights, excluding her Broadway musical compositions. This acquisition includes some of Lauper's most iconic tracks, underscoring her enduring popularity and the cultural significance of her work.

In addition to managing Lauper's existing catalog, Pophouse Entertainment plans to create new content and experiences designed to ‘enrich’ Lauper's catalog. This initiative aims to expand her influence and introduce her timeless music to new generations. By leveraging modern media and entertainment platforms, Pophouse intends to enhance the visibility and relevance of Lauper’s music, ensuring her legacy continues to inspire and entertain.

8. Rod Stewart sells catalog to Iconic Artists Group for around $100M

About Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart is a towering figure in rock and pop music, known for his distinctive raspy voice and dynamic stage presence. A two-time inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Stewart has achieved immense success with ten No. 1 albums and 31 Top 10 singles in the UK. Recognized as the 13th Greatest Billboard 200 Artist of all time and the 2nd most successful British solo artist ever, Stewart's music has resonated across six decades. His career includes million-selling studio albums that have charted continuously, marking an unparalleled legacy in the music industry.

What’s involved in the deal

Rod Stewart has entered into a monumental $100 million agreement, selling his interests in his publishing catalog and recorded music, along with certain rights to his name and likeness. First announced on February 15, 2024, this comprehensive deal covers his extraordinary solo career and his influential periods with iconic groups such as the Faces and the Jeff Beck Group.

This landmark arrangement not only highlights the enduring value of Rod Stewart's vast body of work but also ensures that his musical contributions will continue to be celebrated and accessible for future generations. The deal encapsulates a significant portion of music history, spanning the unique sound and hits that Stewart crafted during his time with these renowned bands and throughout his solo ventures.

This strategic move secures Stewart’s legacy as a seminal artist whose work will continue to influence the music industry and his fans worldwide. The arrangement guarantees that his rich catalog of music will be managed with the reverence it deserves, promising continued relevance in the music market and ongoing appreciation by old and new fans alike.

9. Sony Music buys stake in Michael Jackson catalog, valuing rights at over $1.2B

About Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, often hailed as the "King of Pop," remains one of the most significant cultural figures in music history. His unparalleled career, marked by groundbreaking music, mesmerizing dance moves, and a profound influence on numerous music genres, continues to resonate with fans worldwide. Jackson's legacy includes a series of record-breaking releases and numerous awards, making his catalog one of the most coveted in the music industry.

What’s involved in the deal

On February 9, 2024, Sony Music finalized a monumental transaction to acquire half of Michael Jackson’s publishing and recorded masters catalog. The assets involved in this deal are valued at over $1.2 billion, with Sony paying at least $600 million for its stake. This acquisition underscores the enduring value and significance of Jackson's musical contributions.

10. Primary Wave strikes music rights deal with the estate of Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland

About Scott Weiland

Scott Weiland, renowned for his dynamic vocal style and charismatic stage presence, was the frontman of Stone Temple Pilots, one of the most influential rock bands of the 1990s. Under his leadership, the band sold over 40 million albums worldwide. Weiland's catalog boasts 16 Top 10 singles, with eight reaching No.1. His remarkable tenure also features a successful spell with Velvet Revolver and work as a solo artist, highlighted by his lauded debut album, "12 Bar Blues." Stone Temple Pilots were four-time Grammy nominees, securing a win in 1994 for "Best Hard Rock Performance," which underscored Weiland's significant contribution to the rock genre.

What’s involved in the deal

The deal, published on January 24, 2024, encompasses the publishing copyrights and recording royalties for all of Weiland's repertoire with Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, as well as his solo projects. Additionally, the agreement includes a share in the name, image, and likeness rights of Weiland. This comprehensive acquisition covers the entirety of Weiland's illustrious career, ensuring the preservation and continued promotion of his musical legacy.

This acquisition ensures that Scott Weiland's influential music and iconic persona will remain prominent and lasting in rock music. By encompassing all facets of his career, from his groundbreaking work with Stone Temple Pilots to his bold explorations as a solo artist, the deal secures the ongoing relevance and accessibility of his music for future generations. This strategic move not only preserves Weiland's artistic contributions but also enhances the potential for new projects and collaborations that can introduce his work to new audiences while honoring his profound impact on the music world.


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