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I want it all: Queen music catalogue tipped to break $1bn barrier

Taken from | Author: Jordan Potter | Date: 30 May 2023

Universal Music Group is enquiring about purchasing the entire Queen back catalogue from Disney Music Group. It has been estimated that $1 billion could be transferred in the deal, which is “expected to close within one month.”

Music Business Worldwide has reported that Disney Music Group holds the rights to Queen’s recorded oeuvre in North America, while their global distribution is managed through a partnership with Universal Music Group.

Within Queen Productions Ltd, the company that owns the band’s recording catalogue outside of the United States and Canada, each member of the band – Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, and the estate of the late Freddie Mercury – reportedly holds equal shares.

In recent times, prominent musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, and Neil Young have made significant sales of their music rights. This trend has attracted investments from various entities, including major music companies and private equity firms, who have poured billions of dollars into acquiring song catalogues.

These investors foresee substantial long-term profitability in acquiring song rights, driven by the rise of streaming platforms and the continuous growth of music revenues. Additionally, these rights can be exploited for up to 70 years following the musician’s death.

If the deal for Queen’s catalogue goes through, it will be the largest sale of an artist catalogue in history, surpassing Bruce Springsteen’s 2021 sale of his masters and publishing to Sony for $500million.

Queen’s definitive epic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ achieved a remarkable milestone last December, surpassing two billion streams on Spotify. This achievement occurred less than two years after the song received diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), signifying sales and streaming equivalents of ten million or more in the United States.

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