Musicians Are Cashing In On Their Catalogs

By U Cast Studios
December 15, 2020

Musicians Are Cashing In On Their Catalogs
Image Courtesy Of Pixabay

Last year saw a slew of mega deals as video content providers fought over hit shows up for renewal such as Seinfeld, The Office and Friends.

Rights to Seinfeld and The Office, which were acquired by Netflix and NBCUniversal, respectively, reportedly demanded similar 5-year deals totaling $500 million. WarnerMedia reportedly paid $425 million for a 5-year deal to bring the rights to Friends to its HBO Max streaming service.

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With much of the world continuing to be locked inside consuming content as a result of the coronavirus, owning the rights to what people watch and listen to is continuing to attract big bucks.

The last week has seen a pair of major deals in the music publishing space as two of music’s biggest stars have decided to cash in.

Last week, music publisher Primary Wave purchased an 80% stake in Stevie Nicks’ publishing catalog in a deal valued at about $100 million. The deal comes on the heels of Fleetwood Mac’s renewed popularity following a viral TikTok video of a man skateboarding while listening to the band’s hit “Dreams.” The song, which Nicks wrote, returned to the Billboard charts for the first time since 1977.

Under the terms of the deal, Primary Wave gains the rights to Nicks’ name and likeness and the two sides will form a joint venture that will allow Nicks to sign new songwriters. The two sides will also partner to generate more revenue from her catalog through marketing and branding.

“Stevie’s music, while exceptionally well known, is still very undercommericalized and undermarketed,” Primary Wave CEO Larry Mestel said. “There’s enormous upside potential for her songs to be reinvigorated and introduced to youth culture.”

Universal Music Publishing Group announced yesterday it acquired Bob Dylan’s entire catalog of songs, which includes more than 600 copyrights spanning 60 years, in a deal that is reportedly worth more than $300 million. UPMG notes Dylan has sold more than 125 million records across the world and became the first songwriter to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“To represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time – whose cultural importance can’t be overstated – is both a privilege and a responsibility,” UMPG chairman and CEO Jody Gerson said. “We look forward to working with Bob and the team in ensuring his artistry continues to reach and inspire generations of fans, recording artists and songwriters around the world.”

The deals for Nicks’ and Dylan’s catalogs follow a deal last month for the catalog of Taylor Swift’s first six albums, which was acquired by Los Angeles-based investment firm Shamrock Capital Advisors in a deal reportedly worth more than $300 million.

The deal was the latest in the feud between Swift and Scooter Braun, who reportedly sold her recordings for a second time without giving her a chance to purchase them.

“This was the second time my music has been sold without my knowledge,” Swift said in a tweet. “The letter told me that they wanted to reach out before the sale to let me know, but that Scooter Braun had required that they make no contact with me or my team, or the deal would be off.”

Similar to how big bucks are being spent to acquire shows, movies and podcasts, it’s clear deep pockets are now moving into the music publishing space as artists look to unload their catalogs.

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