Queen's music rights will be sold to Sony for $2 billion

Publish Date
Friday, 21 June 2024, 10:49AM
Freddie Mercury of Queen performs on stage at Live Aid on July 13th, 1985 in Wembley Stadium, London, England. Photo / Getty Images

Freddie Mercury of Queen performs on stage at Live Aid on July 13th, 1985 in Wembley Stadium, London, England. Photo / Getty Images

Sony Music are the champions - of Queen's catalogue.

Queen has reportedly agreed to a £1 billion (about NZD $2 billion) deal to sell its music catalogue to Sony Music.

The Bohemian Rhapsody band - which still includes founding members Sir Brian May and Roger Taylor - has been in talks for years about a sale of their enviable catalogue of songs and albums, and now it's believed a deal is imminent.

As reported by Variety, the music catalogue and other rights are "in the process of being acquired" by Sony for a huge sum.

It's thought the deal will close over the next few weeks, while Hits reports that the only revenue not included in the agreement is those earned by live performances.

Since Freddie Mercury's death, aged 45 in 1991, John Deacon has stepped back from the limelight, while Brian and Roger still tour with singer Adam Lambert.

Sign up to Coast's newsletter for exclusive prizes and to keep up to date with the latest.

Queen's recorded music rights in the US and Canada were bought by Disney for an undisclosed price in the 2000s following an initial $10 million licensing deal reached in 1991.

The House of Mouse will keep hold of those rights in perpetuity, although for certain bandmembers, the remaining royalties from those will go to Sony when the deal is finalised.

The group's distribution deal with Universal will move to Sony in all territories outside the US and Canada, but not until that agreement expires in 2026 or 2027.

Earlier this year, it was suggested that Deacon - who has not taken part in any public work for the group since the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, following the frontman's death the previous year - will not include his share of the assets in a potential deal.

Classic tracks in the catalogue include the likes of Radio Gaga, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, Another One Bites The Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Somebody To Love, while the group released 15 studio albums, including 1995's final LP Made In Heaven, which features recordings Mercury made before his death.

An agreement comes as a number of high-profile songwriting catalogues have been sold in recent years, with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and David Bowie's collections being acquired for hundreds of millions of dollars.

They have proven to be an attractive investment for labels, with the prospect of repeated royalties through usage in films and TV, as well as radio plays or adverts.

- Written by Bang! Showbiz and republished here with permission.


Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you