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Here are 9 artists who sold their music catalogue for millions! From Red Hot Chili Peppers to Shakira


Shamraiz KhalidSenior Editor

05th May, 2021. 09:56 pm
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Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers are the latest to sell the rights to their hugely popular music amid the pandemic

The Red Hot Chili Peppers joins the list of an elite panel of superstars who have sold their music publishing rights in pricey deals. The deal was made with British Investment firm Hipgnosis who have bought the catalogues of a number of high profile artists. The deal is reportedly worth $140-150 million (PKR 21. 4 to 23 billion).

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The catalogue includes hits like ‘Under the Bridge’, ‘Californication’ and ‘Snow (Hey Oh). The sale of the catalogue was first reported by industry tracker Billboard while citing anonymous sources. The purchase required joint approval as most of the songs were written collectively by band members Flea, Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante and Chad Smith.

The band in 2006 at Pinkpop. From left: Flea, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante

Since the tour revenues have been wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports claim that there is a slew of artists who are selling their catalogues. Usually, the artists who produce the songs receive their money through a number of scenarios which include radio play and streaming, album sales, and use in advertising and movies. However, selling a catalogue allows artists to receive immediate payout rather than wait for those earnings. Let us have a look at other musicians who sold their music catalogues in the past:

2. Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan plays a guitar and sings into a microphone.

Iconic folk rocker Bob Dylan sold his full music catalogue of 600 songs spanning 60 years of music to Universal Music Group’s music publishing arm. The deal happened in December 2020, and included 1960s counterculture songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Like a Rolling Stone”. The catalogue was reportedly sold for $300 million.

3. David Crosby

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After Bob Dylan’s sale, David Crosby was asked on his Twitter handle if he would follow suit. “I am selling mine also,” he tweeted in December 2020. “I can’t work… and streaming stole my record money… I have a family and a mortgage and I have to take care of them so it’s my only option… I’m sure the others feel the same.” Founding member of the popular bands Byrds and Crosby and Stills & Nash, Crosby sold his music catalogue to Iconic Artist Group in March 2021.

4. Shakira

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In January, Colombian pop star Shakira sold rights to her music catalogue of 145 songs to Hipgnosis Songs Find in January. The deal included popular songs ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, ‘Whenever, Wherever’ and 2010 FIFA World Cup song ‘Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)’.

5. Neil Young

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A deal different from the ones above, Neil sold 50 per cent of his stake in music to Hipgnosis in a deal announced in January. The company bought half of the copyright and income interests in around 1,180 songs written by Young which include famous rock songs such as Heart of Gold’, ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ and ‘Cinnamon Girl’.

6. Ryan Tedder

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A Grammy-winning singer who has worked with the likes of Adele, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, and for his rock group OneRepublic, sold a majority stake of his music catalogue to private equity firm KKR & Co in January. The catalogue of nearly 500 songs includes hit tracks such as ‘Counting Stars’ and ‘Apologize’.

7. Paul Simon

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From his time in Simon & Grafunkel to his solo career, Grammy award winner Paul Simon sold his music catalogue which spanned more than six decades. Some of his best-known songs include ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ ‘The Boxer,’ ‘The Sound of Silence,’ ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘Homeward Bound,’ ‘I am a Rock’ and ‘50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.’

8. Stevie Nicks

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Two members of the popular rock band Fleetwood Mac also cashed in. Stevie Nicks sold a majority stake in her catalogue private music publishing company Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. The catalogue included her legendary songs ‘Dreams’ and ‘Landslide’.

9. Mick Fleetwood

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The group’s founder, Mick Fleetwood also sold his back catalogue to BMG in January. It gives the company a share in the royalties from over 300 songs including ‘Dreams’ and ‘Go Your Own Way’.

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