Queen To Sell Music Catalog For Record-Breaking Amount

Queen Group Portrait

Photo: Hulton Archive

Sony Music are the champions—of Queen's catalog. As Variety reports, two sources have confirmed the company is in the process of acquiring the band's music catalog, among other rights, for £1 billion (around $1.27 billion). As Hits reports, the only revenue excluded from the deal is live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still actively tour with Adam Lambert, will retain.

The record-breaking acquisition marks the most expensive music catalog sale in history, more than doubling the $600 million Sony paid for a 50% stake in Michael Jackson’s catalog rights this year and the $500 million Sony spent on Bruce Springsteen's back catalog in 2021. Another bidder was reportedly in the mix but topped out at $900 million.

Although Sony Music will own Queen's music catalog, as well as name, image, and likeness, the deal is a bit complicated. Right now, Disney owns the band's recorded-music rights in the US and Canada but has been paying royalties to May and Taylor. Those earning will now go to Sony. Universal also has a distribution deal with Queen through 2026 or 2027. When that contract is up, distribution rights outside the US and Canada will go to Sony.

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