Rock band Queen could sell their catalogue to Sony for $1bn

Rock band Queen could sell their catalogue to Sony for $1bn

Sony Music is reportedly in negotiations to acquire the music catalogue of the iconic rock band Queen, which includes chart-topping hits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, and Another One Bites The Dust. According to reports from Bloomberg, the potential deal is valued at around $1 billion (£790 million) and involves Sony Music collaborating with another investor.

While discussions are still ongoing and may not necessarily lead to a final sale, if the transaction goes through, it would encompass the rights to all of Queen’s songs and associated intellectual property, including logos, music videos, merchandise, publishing, and other commercial opportunities. The talks regarding this acquisition have been ongoing since the previous year.

Universal Music, another major player in the music industry, has also been linked to the potential deal due to their longstanding relationship with Queen. The band originally signed with the British label EMI in 1972, which later became a part of Universal Music after its acquisition in 2011.

If the $1 billion price tag is met, this deal would surpass Sony Music’s previous acquisition of Bruce Springsteen’s catalogue for $500 million (£393 million) in late 2021. Furthermore, earlier this year, Sony also secured a 50% stake in Michael Jackson’s music catalogue from the late singer’s estate for a minimum of $600 million (£472 million).

Queen’s enduring popularity, with 52 million monthly listeners on Spotify, is attributed to the success of the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and their ongoing tours with vocalist Adam Lambert. Hits like Crazy Little Thing Called Love and We Will Rock You continue to resonate with audiences globally, contributing to the band’s commercial success.

In the UK, Queen’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 remains the best-selling album of all time, with over 7 million copies sold. The band’s financial performance reflects their commercial appeal, with Queen Productions Ltd reporting earnings of $52 million (£42 million) in the financial year ending September 2022.

The sale of music catalogues has emerged as a lucrative business strategy, with record labels and private equity firms acquiring the rights to music by renowned artists like David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Shakira for significant sums. These deals offer financial security to artists and their estates while creating new revenue streams through film and TV licensing, merchandise, cover versions, and performance royalties.

Despite challenges in the market, Queen’s catalogue remains highly coveted due to the timeless nature of their music. Disney Music Group’s ownership of Queen’s recorded music catalogue in North America adds a layer of complexity to the negotiation process, as the band retains the global publishing rights for their music and lyrics.

As the discussions continue, Sony Music and representatives of Queen are yet to provide official comments on the potential deal.