Apr 5, 2024 - Business

KISS deal could spark an NIL boom for other entertainers

Photo illustration of Gene Simmons in white makeup with black painted dollar signs

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc via Getty Images

The rock band KISS has become the latest musical act to sell its catalog to private equity, fetching more than $300 million from Sweden's Pophouse.

Why it matters: The deal structure is unusual, and could spark the creation of a new private investment asset class.

Zoom in: Pophouse not only is buying the rock band's music, but also its name, image, and likeness.

  • "The NIL inclusion was critical to Pophouse's vision," explains Spencer Klein, a Morrison Foerster attorney who represented KISS on the transaction. "The catalog has tremendous value on its own, but Pophouse believes it can continue the legend of KISS by having ownership and use of the iconic KISS images and other assets that their fans love.

Catch up quick: Influence Media Partners, a BlackRock-backed investment firm, included NIL rights when it struck a catalog deal with Enrique Iglesias late last year, and has since done five more.

  • Lylette Pizarro, IMP's founder and co-managing partner, argues that NIL can drive significant alpha to royalties deals, which otherwise have fairly predictable return profiles.

The big picture: Don't be surprised to not only see NIL get incorporated into future music deals, but also as standalone agreements with other sorts of entertainers and cultural icons. It's even possible to see entire funds raised for this purpose.

  • "What's becoming really interesting is that we're getting organic inbounds from outside of music, mostly from sports," Pizarro says.

The bottom line: KISS is arguably more popular for its visual style than for its music, and was a proud sellout before it became cool. Others will follow its lead.

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