'Is This Just Fantasy?' Sony Buys Queen Music Catalog For Over $1 Billion

Zinger Key Points
  • Sony Music is acquiring Queen's catalog for $1.27 billion, including recording, publishing rights, and royalties.
  • The deal includes name and likeness rights; Sony will be the global distributor by 2026 while band members keep live performance revenue.

Sony Group Corp. SONY is poised to acquire Queen’s music catalog in a groundbreaking deal worth £1 billion (US$1.27 billion).

According to Hits‘ Rumor Mill, Sony Music Entertainment will secure Queen's recording and publishing rights. The deal, later confirmed by Variety, includes royalties from previous agreements with Disney Music Group and Universal Music Group NV UMGNF.

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Queen's catalog includes iconic songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “We Will Rock You.” Walt Disney Co. DIS currently owns Queen’s recorded music catalog in North America, while UMG has a global distribution deal with Disney.

Queen's band members Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon, along with the Freddie Mercury estate, hold equal shares in Queen Productions Ltd, which controls the band’s recording catalog outside the US and Canada.

UMG will retain distribution rights in North America, with Sony receiving royalties. UMG's worldwide distribution rights will shift to Sony by 2026 or 2027, making Sony the global distributor and owner of all Queen content.

This agreement also includes rights to the band’s name and likeness, paving the way for merchandise and other ventures. May and Taylor, who still tour with vocalist Adam Lambert, will retain control over live performance revenues.

Although specifics about the involvement of Queen's manager Jim Beach and his daughter remain unclear, another bidder reportedly offered $900 million for the rights.

Bloomberg previously noted that Sony was collaborating with another investor on this potential billion-dollar transaction, which would include merchandising opportunities.

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Image credits: Emiliano Cicero on Unsplash

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