Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Blackstone joins bid for Pink Floyd rights as band eyes record sale

Tim Baysinger
Aug 25, 2022
Animated illustration of a golden coin on a record player spinning as if it were a vinyl record.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Blackstone's entry into the bidding for Pink Floyd's catalog puts the auction on pace to break the price tag record for a music rights sale.

Why it matters: The bidding party for the British band's tunes shows that the market for music rights continues to attract deep pockets seeking to own and profit from aging (but still popular) musicians.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, Axios confirmed that Blackstone has entered the Pink Floyd bidding pool, which was first reported by the Financial Times.

  • Blackstone would do the deal through its Hipgnosis Songs Capital fund, which it set up with $1 billion after acquiring a majority stake in Hipgnosis Songs Management last year.
  • This year alone, Hipgnosis has paid a combined $341 million for the catalogs of Leonard Cohen, Justin Timberlake, Nile Rodgers, Nelly Furtado and Kenny Chesney, per the Financial Times.
  • Other known Pink Floyd contenders include Sony, Warner Music and a pair of private equity-backed bids from BMG (KKR) and Primary Wave (Oaktree).
  • The band is seeking at least $500 million for its rights, which include both songwriting and recordings.

By the numbers: Since 2020, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen have scored nine-figure deals. Other big sales include David Bowie, Sting and Neil Diamond.

  • 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.

Be smart: Pink Floyd, 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.

💭 Tim's thought bubble: After Pink Floyd finds its buyer, the market seems to be pretty much tapped out. Music rights companies Broadcast Music Inc. and Concord have called off their sale plans, while others including Round Hill Music, Anthem Entertainment Group and Tempo Music have so far not attracted any buyers.

Go deeper