Another consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the recent decision of music immortals Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan and Neil Young to hand over the rights to their songs to investment companies for huge sums of money.
Between $ 300 million and $ 400 million: that’s what Universal Music Publishing Group paid to secure the rights to Bob Dylan’s precious catalog.
The Hipgnosis Songs Fund company reportedly spent $ 150 million to get its hands on 50% of the rights to Neil Young’s securities after also making deals with Debbie Harry, Lindsay Buckingham, Chrissie Hynde and several others. Stevie Nicks, for his part, sold 80% of its rights to Primary Wave for an estimated sum of $ 100 million.
What drives them to sell? First, the resurgence in popularity of rock classics in times of pandemic. What the expert in Sportainment of the University of Quebec in Montreal, André Richelieu, calls the “retromarketing”.
“Music lovers take refuge in nostalgia for a reassuring past in the face of a present full of challenges and a very uncertain future,” he notes.
We saw him when Dreams, a Fleetwood Mac track from 1977, returned to the charts when a TikTok user used the song in a post that went viral.
“It’s an opportunity for artists to capitalize on an asset that could appreciate over time and sell it at a premium price to music companies who will exploit it for a profit thanks to the attraction of a strong brand that the artist will have built during his career ”, analyzes Mr. Richelieu.
Who will be next ? The bets are open. Already, Dolly Parton and David Crosby have put the sign up for sale.
In an interview with NPR, Crosby, 79, said it was all about supporting himself. “I can’t do concerts anymore because of COVID and it won’t be resuming anytime soon. The capital I have are my publishing rights. “
In addition, points out the host Mike Gauthier, ceding his songs before dying helps avoid conflicts over succession.
“Advisors advise them to settle everything before leaving. It seems that in the case of Frank Zappa, among others, it was a total disaster. Same thing with Prince, the fair took off after his death when one of his sisters took control, ”notes Mr. Gauthier.
In short, for a well-ordered succession, it is better to separate a bank account of several millions than to transfer the management of its songs.
In all likelihood, investor appetite for music rights also stems from the emergence of streaming listening, which has opened up opportunities for an industry that was looking for a new model in the early 2000s. – With AFP