Red Hot Chili Peppers Sell Their Entire Catalog for $140 Million

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers performing live in 2019. Photo Credit: Raph_PH

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have sold their entire catalog to Hipgnosis in a deal that was reportedly worth north of $140 million.

The 38-year-old rock band and the UK-based song-investment fund just recently unveiled the high-profile transaction, which represents the latest in a long line of music-IP sales involving well-known acts. To be sure, Paul Simon in late March sold his own catalog to Sony Music Publishing, while Linda Ronstadt and David Crosby that same month finalized deals with Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group.

Across their nearly four-decade-long career, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have released 11 studio albums, the newest of which, The Getaway, became available to fans in 2016. Among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group’s most popular tracks are 2006’s “Snow (Hey Oh)” and “Dani California,” 2000’s “Otherside,” and 1992’s “Under the Bridge” – all of which were co-written by Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, and Chad Smith.

With this agreement, Merck Mercuriadis’s hyper-leveraged Hipgnosis – traded as SONG on the London Stock Exchange – has officially acquired a portion or the entirety of catalogs from Shakira, Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, Motley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, Barry Manilow, Mark Ronson, and others during the last year or so.

And needless to say, by betting over a billion dollars on the long-term earning potential of music IP, London-headquartered Hipgnosis has materially elevated catalogs’ sale prices. Nevertheless, other parties are continuing to acquire song rights of their own.

Besides the aforementioned plays from Iconic Artists Group and Sony Music Publishing, Bob Dylan in December of 2020 enjoyed a reported $300 million windfall by selling his catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group – though the deal spurred a $7.25 million legal action against the 79-year-old.

Primary Wave paid a reported $100 million for Stevie Nicks’ catalog in December – following the TikTok-driven resurgence of “Dreams,” it bears mentioning – and BMG acquired the 300-track recorded catalog of Mick Fleetwood in January. Additionally, the Bertelsmann subsidiary has partnered with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) to collaborate on music IP acquisitions moving forward.

Lastly, Round Hill Music quietly inked several noteworthy catalog agreements to kick off 2021, and Concord about one week ago bought the more than 145,000-track catalog of Downtown Music for a reported $300 million. Included in the latter are interests in works from Aretha Franklin, Maroon 5, Jay-Z, Rage Against the Machine, and Stevie Wonder, to name just some.

5 Responses

  1. Johnny

    “Red Hot Chili Peppers Sell Their Entire Catalog for $140 Million” – most bands don’t own their own catalogs. When WB or Sony etc. sign bands they usually offer and confirm deals where their publishing companies own the catalogs of bands signed to their labels. All these new deals probably are being signed by these publishing companies and NOT by the bands. It is somewhat misleading to suggest that the RHCP are now getting $140 Million! The band will probably receive some money from this deal but not this large amount. Bands have little control over their own business in 2021. The record companies still control everything. As per usual the middle men will probably be receiving most of this money. Not the band!

    • Tommy

      Bands have as much control over things as they want. They don’t have to take advances. They don’t have to sell publishing rights away. They choose to do so for money. As for the RHCP, they actually did retain ownership of their catalog, and will; therefore, receive $140M. All it takes in a little research to find this information, as opposed to spouting off recklessly.

  2. The Kaiser

    I can’t tell if I’m a kingpin or a pauper
    Greedy little people in a sea of distress

  3. anonymous

    Catalog of what? Publishing or master recordings? Or both? Just curious…

    • Al Jolson

      Did they own their masters? My guess is they retained their publishing.