Sony Music will buy Queen’s music catalog for $1 billion

Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon and his legacy Freddie Mercury are equal shareholders in Queen Productions Ltd., which reported $52 million in revenue in September 2022, according to company filings.

In recent years, there has been a frenzy to acquire music catalogs, attracting billions of dollars in investment from specialist investment funds and private equity firms such as KKR and Blackstone, which compete for deals with traditional music companies.

Song catalogs are considered attractive investments because they can be used in movies, played on the radio, or used for advertising for decades. All this brings the rights holders a lot of money.

Bruce Springsteen’s catalog was sold to Sony in 2021 for nearly $500 million, while Neil Young and Bob Dylan also signed deals worth hundreds of millions. In 2022, Warner Music purchased David Bowie’s catalog for approximately $250 million.

This year, Sony bought 50 percent of Michael Jackson’s music catalog from the late singer’s estate for at least $600 million, Billboard reports.

However, some investments have fared better. British music rights investment fund Hipgnosis, which owns the rights to songs by artists from Beyoncé to Neil Young, agreed to a $1.6 billion takeover by private equity firm Blackstone last month after months of turmoil over the company’s structure and leadership.

Hipgnosis launched a strategic review last year to evaluate its business options after a shareholder revolt over a planned catalog sale.

Sony Music, which owns Queen’s North American rights, and Disney Music Group have been contacted for comment.

A representative for the Queen declined to comment.

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