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These are the most expensive music rights ever sold

The music investment fund Hipgnosis Songs is currently in a heated dispute with its investors. They even want to market the catalog of more than 65.000 songs within six months in order to monetize part of their invested capital. The following examples prove that selling these can generate quite a bit of money: MASTERS lists the most expensive ones.

However, one deal is not the same as the other, a number consists of different types of rights. The first right concerns the songwriting, these are the rights of the writers of the song, the publishing rights are the rights to release the song and the master rights are the rights that belong to the official recordings.

5. David Bowie 

In 2021, David Bowie's relatives sold the rights to his entire oeuvre. Warner Chappell Music, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group, paid approximately €220 million for it. 

4.sting

The winner of 17 Grammy Awards, finished an impressive second place in Forbes rankings of highest-paid entertainers in 2022. This achievement followed a remarkable deal worth over €263 million in 2022, transferring his entire catalog to the Universal Music Group.

This includes some of his most iconic hits, including “Roxanne,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Shape Of My Heart,” “Fields Of Gold,” and “Desert Rose''. Future song royalties are also part of the deal.

3. Phil Collins & Genesis

In September 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported that legendary British band Genesis, consisting of Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, had transferred their valuable publishing rights to the Concord Music Group in a deal worth more than 300 million.

The deal included not only Genesis' work, but also Phil Collins' solo albums, including “No Jacket Required” and “…But Seriously!”. Also included were releases from Mike & the Mechanics, another band Rutherford was involved with.

2.Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is without a doubt a musical legend. One of only two individuals ever – and the only living person – he has received both an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize. 

Bob Dylan sold the copyrights to his entire catalog to the Universal Music Publishing Group in 2020. It involved more than six hundred songs and was the largest acquisition of music rights ever in 2020. What the music company paid for it has not been disclosed, but The New York Times quoted an estimate of the equivalent of €247 million. 

But Dylan wasn't done yet: in July 2021, he signed a second remarkable deal, this time worth several million euros. He sold the master rights of his music to Sony Music Entertainment. 

1.Bruce Springsteen

In 2021, the American singer sold the publishing rights, the intellectual property rights to the lyrics and melodies used and the master rights to all his recorded music. Several companies were in the race for the rights, but Sony made the highest bid. In total, Springsteen is said to have received approximately €440 million from the music company.