If you think you hear a “ka-ching” sound effect during a music set on your local classic rock station from Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top and Yes, there’s a good reason. Catalog music sales involving these artists and others grew at least 180% last year, with an estimated $5.3 billion spent on catalog publishing, recorded music catalogs and royalties of producers.
Based on MIDiA Research’s tracking of 131 transactions published in 2021, as reported in Billboard, more than a third of individual catalog acquisitions involved rock bands, the most notable being Sony Music’s $500 million deal for Springsteen’s publishing and master royalties. Others include BMG Rights Management’s acquisition of ZZ Top’s revenue from recorded music and performance royalties, Round Hill Music Royalty Fund’s purchase of a 50% stake in the publishing catalog from Yes member Trevor Rabin and Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s royalty deal with Bob Rock, producer of bands such as Metallica, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. Catalogs from the 1970s featuring artists such as Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Paul Simon and members of Fleetwood Mac accounted for a fifth of those deals, according to MIDiA.
While classic rock may rule the boardroom given these acts’ proven streaming and licensing track records, artists tied to other genres and eras have also enjoyed big paydays in 2021. a quarter of known deals were for 2000s artists, recordings or compositions, including Warner Music Group’s $100 million payment for dance-pop-DJ artist-producer David David’s catalog of recorded music Guetta and his deal for a majority stake in Bruno Mars’ songwriting catalog, as well as Hipgnosis’ purchase of Shakira’s publishing catalog.
Although R&B and hip-hop took a smaller share of the business, the genres led to a pair of standout deals: Primary Wave’s $90 million layout for a publishing stake in James Brown, major royalty income, name and likeness, and Reservoir Media’s acquisition of pioneering rap. the Tommy Boy label’s catalog of recorded music spanning 6,000 copyrights, including hits like Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around.”
Even though MIDiA’s report focused on 131 deals in 2021 worth $5.3 billion, the researcher notes that this only takes into account deals whose details are published via press releases and financial statements, and that many such transactions are unreported or do not include the dollar. value because the parties involved in the acquisitions do not want to attract attention or are bound by strict nondisclosure agreements.