Grammy and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter John Legend is the latest to cash in and has sold his music catalog to record label BMG and investment firm KKR, according to an insider with knowledge of the deal.
According to a U.S. regulatory filing first seen and reported by Bloomberg, BMG and KKR have each purchased a 50% stake in Legend’s songwriting catalog in a deal that would cover Legend’s work from late 2004 to 2020, which includes the copyrights and the royalty rights.
The transaction was executed in September, according to the filing. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
What’s most notable about the deal is that Legend is in the midst of his career, not at the twilight, which has been the norm for these deals. Legend, 43, joins the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, and Neil Young who sold their catalogs. Springsteen’s deal is valued at $500 million.
This is one of several investments that BMG and KKR have completed since they agreed in March 2021 to work together to pursue recorded music, music publishing and other music rights acquisitions. In December 2021, BMG and KKR announced the acquisition of ZZ Top’s publishing catalog, as well as income from recorded music royalties and performance royalties. Previously, BMG served as co-publisher and administrator of ZZ Top’s publishing catalog. According to the Wall Street Journal, the catalog is worth around $50 million.
BMG has worked with Legend since they acquired his music publisher, Cherry Lane Music Publishing, in 2010. BMG will continue to administer the catalogue of songs. In parallel BMG has struck a new deal to administer John Legend’s future compositions.