KKR & Co. Inc. and BMG have acquired John Legend’s songwriting catalog.
The deal, disclosed in a registration application, closed last fall and illustrates just how blazing hot the music investment market has become. Mr Legend, 47 years old – still an active songwriter, recording artist and recording artist – is younger and earlier in his career than many of his peers who have made deals to build their legacy and cash in on their life’s work.
The R&B crooner sold his publishing copyrights and the rights to receive royalties from music he wrote from 2004 to early 2021. BMG Rights Management and KKR each purchased a 50% stake in the catalog. BMG, that the work of Mr. Legend, since it bought Cherry Lane Music Publishing in 2010, also struck a deal to manage its future compositions, according to a person familiar with the matter. BMG, both a record label and a publisher, is a subsidiary of the German Bertelsmann SE.
A result of KKR and BMG’s investment in Mr. Legend so far is that his future releases and tours are likely to generate continued attention and streaming of his catalog. The deal includes Mr. Legend from 2004, as well as hits like ‘All of Me’ and ‘Love Me Now’.
KKR partnered with BMG last March to spend at least $1 billion on music copyrights. That commitment came last year amid a wider move into music for KKR, which last January struck a $200 million deal for a majority stake in Ryan Tedder’s catalog of hits, including songs by Beyoncé, Adele, Stevie Wonder and Mr. . Tedder, OneRepublic. (Mr. Tedder, now 42 years old, was still a relatively young entrant to the market.) In October, KKR spent $1.1 billion on investment advisory firm Kobalt Capital Ltd.’s KMR Music Royalties II portfolio, which holds more than 62,000 euros. copyright covers over music genres.
Together, KKR and BMG last month invested in the publishing catalog of Texas blues rock trio ZZ Top and the inclusion of music royalties in a deal worth about $50 million, according to people familiar with the deal.
Fueled by strong demand from both longtime publishers and financial players, as well as low interest rates and tax breaks, an onslaught of artists has signed deals for their music rights, including Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.
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