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  • Writer's pictureDeadly Hits

The Great Music Catalogue Gold Rush Continues

Updated: May 10

Stretching long into the last decade, music catalogues have changed hands for hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2021 alone, over $5BN was spent on catalogue acquisitions and, while the pace of investment slowed in late 2022, already 2023 has seen mega-deals in the hundreds of millions (Dr Dre, Justin Bieber).

Big players such as Hipgnosis Song Management, Primary Wave, Concord Music Group, Reservoir Media Management, Inc., Shamrock Holdings and Round Hill Music (as well as the majors) have made profitable business models in investing in established and “financially dependable” catalogues. Artists and estates who have divested rights range from Bobs Marley and Dylan to Justins Timberlake and Bieber, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and Imagine Dragons. And a lot more besides.

Historically, when rights have reverted back to the artist, they will either re-sign with the original label on improved terms or seek out better terms (and more enthusiastic teams) elsewhere for another period of copyright. But in these cases, the artists are often entrusting their life’s work with new custodians for the remaining term of copyright.

Artists can release value across a range of rights - recorded music, songwriter, public performance, name and likeness, neighbouring rights etc. - to capitalise on their assets and provide a lump sum, enabling investments elsewhere or contributing towards estate planning.

The headlines will typically report the value of these deals in multiples of annualised income over a period of years immediately preceding the deal. But if your catalogue has been underperforming for years or even decades, that will have obvious implications on the value on any sale.

At Deadly Hits, we have decades of experience in optimising how fans interact with your work. Not only in terms of maximising your income, but also ensuring your profile is maintained and optimised which comes from increased reach, engagement and discoverability.

We work with labels, publishers, promoters, agents, merch and commercial partners and artist teams to achieve best-in-class results. So if the opportunity comes, your body of work is performing at its peak and generating maximum revenue under current agreements.

Some points to consider:

  1. Your value as an artist does not rest exclusively on your biggest commercial hit

  2. As a name artist, your recognition and reputation means many different things to many different people - you have seen this in your performances

  3. Has your body of work been proactively managed over the years? Shining a light into the art and how it's evolved over your career? Celebrating the twists alongside the commercial highlights?

  4. Are you often presented with innovative new ideas on how your previous work could resonate today? And potentially help promote any new material?

  5. Is there a long-term cohesive plan in place that will deliver strategic objectives, both creatively and commercially, levering the power of your catalogue to help get you there?

  6. What does your audience development plan look like to deliver new fans, and to access demographics outside of your core fanbase?

Not every body of work can or should be divested. If you have existing deals in place that work for you (or that you’re bound to for the foreseeable future), re-read the list above and ask yourself the same questions - these are just some of the ways that Deadly Hits can contribute towards your body of work being proactively managed, promoted and celebrated, which will lead to increased visibility and ultimately, income.

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