As part of the IP-acquisition pact that they announced back in March, BMG and KKR have purchased “the entire music interests” of ZZ Top.
Berlin-based BMG and New York City-headquartered KKR unveiled the song-catalog investment today, via a formal release that was emailed to Digital Music News. BMG has now closed a high-profile music-rights deal in each of the last three months, including an October transaction covering Tina Turner’s “extensive portfolio of rights” and a late-November agreement encompassing the “entire” recorded catalog of Mötley Crüe.
But 13-year-old BMG’s newest play (which reportedly cost $50 million) specifically involves ZZ Top’s “publishing catalogue and their income from recorded royalties and performance royalties,” higher-ups made clear in the announcement message. Also worth noting is that BMG previously served as administrator and co-publisher of ZZ Top’s publishing catalog.
Having arrived on the scene in 1969, ZZ Top released its debut studio album, the aptly named ZZ Top’s First Album, in early 1971. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group has followed the effort with 14 other albums, the most recent of which, La Futura, became available to fans in 2012. These projects have sold a cumulative total of over 50 million units and include well-known tracks like “Sharp Dressed Man” (1983), “Gimme All Your Lovin’” (1983), and “La Grange” (1973), to name just some.
While the three-time Grammy nominee ZZ Top didn’t provide a statement for the release from BMG and Epic Games investor KKR, the famed band’s manager, Shelter Music’s Carl Stubner, said: “We are proud to continue working with and expand our long-standing relationship with BMG. This new deal ensures ZZ Top’s remarkable legacy will endure for generations to come.”
And BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch, whose company reported record half-year earnings in 2021, relayed in a statement of his own: “This deal is a testament to the success, staying power and continuing musical relevance of ZZ Top, but also to the power of our partnership with KKR. This agreement furthers our vision of providing artists and songwriters not just a financial exit, but also a vehicle committed to respecting and treasuring their artistry.”
2020 and 2021 have brought all manner of multimillion-dollar catalog deals, and UK-based song-investment fund Hipgnosis just recently shed light upon its financials for the six months ending on September 30th.
In terms of specific sales, December alone has seen Bruce Springsteen, the James Brown estate, “Eye of the Tiger” songwriter Jim Peterik, and Jellybean Benitez cash out of their music IP, for a cumulative total (including ZZ Top’s BMG agreement) of close to $1 billion.