Is Queen’s Catalog About to Sell for $1.1 Billion?
The rights to Queen’s catalog could soon change hands for an estimated $1.1 billion, according to several high-level music industry insiders.
The British rock icons are reportedly in the early stages of selling their hefty catalog, Music Business Worldwide reports. If the deal goes through, it would mark the biggest single-artist catalog sale in history by far, more than doubling Bruce Springsteen’s $500 million sale of his masters and publishing catalogs in 2021. If it goes through, the cash will be split equally between the estate of Freddie Mercury and surviving bandmates Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon.
Several major music companies, including Universal Music Group, have been vying for the potential acquisition, along with private equity groups. One potential complication is the fact that Disney Music Group — which has a global distribution deal with Universal Music Group — currently owns the band's catalog in North America.
There's no questioning the commercial success of Queen's discography, which comprises 15 studio albums, 10 live albums and two soundtrack albums. The band has sold 300 million records worldwide and notched nine Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including two chart-toppers, "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."
The band enjoyed a huge bump in streaming and physical sales following the release of the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which grossed over $910 million worldwide against a roughly $50 million budget. Queen Productions Ltd., the corporation owned by the band, posted record-high revenues of £72.77 million (approximately $89.84 million) in 2019, and £39.19 million (approximately $48.38 million) in 2021, with almost all of it coming from royalties.
Rockers Who Have Sold Their Publishing Rights