In 1983, Paul McCartney was working with Michael Jackson on a single titled Say say say. Between takes, the conversation turned into business. Jackson had just come out Polar and also sought to ensure that his financial future was stable and secure. “What should I do, Paul?” ” He asked.
“Editing songs” was the answer. “Invest in song catalogs. You can see a reliable source of income in using songs written by other people. “
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Macca knew what he was talking about after losing the rights to a ton of Lennon-McCartney compositions due to an orchestrated financial fiasco in 1969. Not wanting to be stung again, he had already racked up an entire portfolio, including everything. what Buddy Holly had written.
Jackson thought about it very carefully. And then on August 14, 1985, Jacko outbid McCartney when a huge track of Beatles songs went on sale. At $ 47 million, the price was too high for Paul. For Jackson, it was a godsend. Twenty-five years later, that catalog was worth somewhere north of $ 750 million.
Such once obscure deals are big business these days with companies with names like Hipgnosis, Primary Wave, and Jampol competing with Wall Street investment banks like KKR to buy as many song catalogs as possible. It’s the new gold rush.
Bruce Springsteen sells his entire catalog of songs to Sony for $ 500 million
The chatter that followed the sale of Bruce Springsteen’s music catalog to Sony for US $ 550 million had not even started to fade when it was announced that Warner-Chappell had recovered all of the music from David Bowie for $ 250 million, adding to the list of dozens and dozens of artists (or their estates) who have done the same. This not only includes heritage artists like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Prince and ZZ Top, but more recent artists like The Killers, Imagine Dragons and Shakira.
Let’s also be clear. It is not “sell off” in the old sense of the term. This is money these artists would have earned in the years and decades to come if they could have lived forever. But instead of waiting for the royalty checks to come in every six months, they chose to take that money up front, kind of like a no-gross payday loan situation.
There are also very good reasons to sell. First, the amount of money being offered is really insane. Second, taking the money all at once has tax advantages. If you just wait for the royalty checks to arrive, the IRS taxes them as salary income, which could mean a tax rate of up to 50% or more, depending on the state. But if you take the money all at once, US tax law considers it a capital gain, which is taxed at a much lower rate, maybe around 20 percent. Questions about this?
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And there’s more. The big salary means that artists can live their lives in financial freedom, which allows them to experiment with different projects, make new investments, get involved in philanthropy, spend money on activism or just to organize things for their heirs. And since we’re in a sellers market, this might be a good time to cash in, especially if you’re an older artist. Miss this window and you might not get another chance.
With all of this in mind, which artist will be next? Here are some guesses about who might be on a P&L spreadsheet somewhere.
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There were very strong rumors before Christmas that Sting was about to pull the trigger on a major chord, so when that didn’t happen it was somewhat surprising that nothing had happened. announced before New Years. Give it some.
I asked KISS’s Gene Simmons the question last month: would he and Paul Stanley ever sell? Gene’s response: “How much do you have? His argument is that not only do KISS songs generate revenue through public performances (radio, etc.), streaming and sales, but also through its branded products. He estimated that there are around 4,000 KISS branded items on the market at any given time, from condoms to coffins. “No one in music has the marks that we have.”
3. The Eagles
That would be a monster deal, considering the Eagles’ long-standing ubiquity of music on the radio. If current members Don Henley, Joe Walsh or Timothy B. Schmidt or any former member (Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Bernie Leadon or Randy Meisner) went their separate ways, they were ready to sell their former manager, Irving Azoff and his company. , Iconic Artists, would be happy to pull out the checkbook.
4. Ozzy Osbourne
It’s no secret that Ozzy hasn’t been doing well for some time and is now battling early-stage Parkinson’s disease. Sharon, his wife and manager, is very savvy when it comes to Ozzy’s finances, so you can bet she’s had discussions before.
5. John McVie
The Fleetwood Mac bassist is the only band member not to sell his stakes in the band’s songs. It may only be a matter of time, however.
6. Bob Seger
Seger knows how much money can be made by licensing songs. Used Chevrolet Like a rock for their van commercials for years and Old fashioned rock’n’roll has been put to work many times beyond its original version. He has already done his farewell tour and will be 77 in May.
7. Steve Miller
He’s only had half a dozen major hits, but these songs – like The Joker, Fly like an eagle, and Swingtown – are still staples of rock radio. Is it time to (um) take the money and run away?
8. Noel Gallagher
As the group’s main songwriter, he continues to make a lot more money than any other member of Oasis. His net worth is estimated to be around $ 70 million, which is a lot. But it could be a lot more if he decides to sell. But as a UK resident, he might not get the same tax benefits as someone in the US
U2 not only has its own edition, but also its own master recordings. Bono and The Edge are each worth at least $ 700 million at the moment with the other two guys not far behind for an estimated total of $ 1.8 billion. To sell? Why?
10. The Beatles
The Great White Whale, but that’s never going to happen. The value of any song catalog is determined by looking at their average annual earnings and then assigning a multiple (5x, 10x, 20x) to that number. If the stories are true that Springsteen’s catalog is valued at 30 times, which leads to a purchase price of US $ 550 million, then we can do some research to determine what the Beatles catalog might fetch. My math puts it at a minimum of $ 2 billion.
But Macca will never sell. It took him too long to get his music back after losing it in the 1960s. And with a net worth of at least £ 800million ($ 1.4 billion in Canada), he’s probably doing well. . John’s estate is worth around US $ 200million, while George’s is worth around £ 100million ($ 172million). Heck, even Ringo has $ 350 million. No one is in a rush to sell anything.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.
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