Queen reportedly sell music catalogue to Sony Music for £1billion

20 June 2024, 12:27

Queen in 1973
Queen are said to be closing a huge deal with Sony music. Picture: Michael Putland/Getty Images

By Jenny Mensah

According to reports, the acquisition is believed to be the biggest of its kind.

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Queen is said to have agreed to a £1 billion deal to sell its music catalogue to Sony Music.

The Bohemian Rhapsody legends - originally comprised of Sir Brian May and Roger Taylor, former bassist Roger Deacon and their late frontman Freddie Mercury - have reportedly been in talks with the label about a sale for their enviable catalogue of songs and albums for years, and now it's believed a deal is imminent.

According to Variety, the music catalogue and other rights is "in the process of being acquired" by Sony for the huge sum and it is thought the deal will close over the next few weeks.

The outlet adds that the news was first reported by Hits, who have outlined that the only revenue not included in the agreement is those earned by live performances.

Queen released 15 studio albums in total, including1995's Made In Heaven, which features recordings Mercury made before his death from AIDS-related bronchopneumonia in 1991, aged just 45.

Classic tracks in the Queen catalogue include Bo Rhap alongside the likes of We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, Radio Gaga, Another One Bites The Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Somebody To Love.

Queen, who formed in 1970, are among the most commercially successful bands in history and have sold over 300 million albums worldwide.

After Freddie Mercury's death in 1991, bassist John Deacon stepped back from the limelight, while Brian May and Roger Taylor continued on to perform under the Queen name, now touring successfully across the world with with American singer Adam Lambert.

Queen's recorded music rights in the US and Canada were bought by Disney for an undisclosed price in the 2000s following an initial $10 million licensing deal reached in 1991.

The House of Mouse will keep hold of those rights in perpetuity, although for certain band members, the remaining royalties from those will go to Sony when the deal is finalised.

According to reports, the band's distribution deal with Universal will move to Sony in all territories outside the US and Canada, but not until that agreement expires in 2026 or 2027.

Earlier this year, it was suggested that Deacon - who has not taken part in any public work for the group since the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, following the frontman's death the previous year - will not include his share of the assets in a potential deal.

An agreement comes as a number of high-profile songwriting catalogues have been sold in recent years, with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and David Bowie's collections being acquired for hundreds of millions of dollars.

They have proven to be an attractive investment for labels, with the prospect of repeated royalties through usage in films and TV, as well as radio play or adverts.

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