Catalog cover

John Legend sells his musical catalog to BMG, investment company KKR

Grammy and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter John Legend is the latest to cash in and has sold his music catalog to record label BMG and investment firm KKR, according to an insider with knowledge of the deal.

According to a US regulatory filing first seen and reported by Bloomberg, BMG and KKR each purchased a 50% stake in Legend’s songwriting catalog as part of a deal that would cover Legend’s work from end of 2004 to 2020, which includes copyright and royalty rights.

The transaction was executed in September, according to the filing. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

What’s most notable about the deal is that Legend is in the middle of his career, not the twilight that has been the norm for these deals. Legend, 43, joins Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young who have sold out their catalogs. Springsteen’s deal is valued at $500 million.

It is one of many investments BMG and KKR have made since agreeing in March 2021 to work together to pursue recorded music, music publishing and other music rights acquisitions. In December 2021, BMG and KKR announced the acquisition of ZZ Top’s publishing catalog, as well as revenue from recorded music royalties and performance royalties. Previously, BMG was co-publisher and administrator of ZZ Top’s publishing catalog. According to the Wall Street Journal, the catalog is worth around $50 million.

BMG has worked with Legend since acquiring its music publisher, Cherry Lane Music Publishing, in 2010. BMG will continue to administer the song catalog. At the same time, BMG has entered into a new contract to administer future compositions by John Legend.