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Warner Music, BMG vying for Pink Floyd catalog rights

Tim Baysinger
May 13, 2022
Illustration of a pencil writing sheet music with dollar and cents symbols

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Warner Music and KKR-backed BMG are two bidders that have emerged for Pink Floyd's back catalog, the Financial Times reports.

Why it's important: The band is eyeing a deal north of $500 million and could even eclipse the $550 million that Bruce Springsteen reportedly nabbed last year from Sony Music.

  • That deal stands as the most expensive music rights sale so far.

The big picture: PE groups have been among the biggest spenders in the white-hot song copyright market.

  • Last year, a KKR-led group purchased a catalog that included hits from newer artists The Weeknd and Lorde from Kobalt for $1.1 billion.
  • Blackstone and Apollo also each committed $1 billion to new funds.
  • KKR also partnered with BMG last year, with the two companies pledging $1 billion to go after acquisitions that they would jointly share.
  • Overall, at least $5 billion was spent on catalog and music rights acquisitions in 2021, according to estimates by music trade publication Music Business Worldwide.

Between the lines: What makes this sale so valuable? Pink Floyd is offering the rights for both its songwriting and recording.

  • The band, known for hits like "Comfortably Numb" and "Another Brick in the Wall," has sold 75 million albums according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Springsteen has sold 65 million.
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