Warner Music and BMG Are Competing for Pink Floyd’s Catalog, Report Says — Bidding Could Top $500 Million

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Pink Floyd performing live in 1973. Photo Credit: Erik Calonius

Earlier this week, reports suggested that Pink Floyd was considering selling its catalog following blockbuster deals involving the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Now, a different report yet has indicated that Warner Music Group and BMG are vying for the song rights at hand, which could fetch a top bid of $500 million.

The Financial Times just recently shed light upon the rumored bidding war between Warner Music Group (which closed a deal for David Bowie’s publishing catalog to kick off 2022) and BMG (which in 2021 partnered with KKR to invest in music IP).

Also worth noting is that BMG, building upon the pact with KKR, inked a similar agreement with Pimco in January. Driving home the Bertelsmann subsidiary’s intention to continue buying catalogs even as the market reportedly cools, a late-March earnings report said: “BMG’s focus is on growth through signing new contracts with artists and authors, especially the acquisition of music rights and the monetization thereof.”

Back to the specifics of the possible catalog sale from Pink Floyd, the 57-year-old group is reportedly shopping its “entire back catalogue” to BMG and WMG. Neither of these potential purchasers had publicly addressed the matter at the time of this piece’s writing.

However, anonymous sources communicated that the transaction’s price tag may even approach the reportedly $550 million or so that Bruce Springsteen received from Sony Music for his body of work towards 2021’s conclusion.

Between merchandise, anniversary releases, sync, and much else, it goes without saying that there are more than a few ways that the eventual Pink Floyd catalog buyer could look to recoup its investment.

But for a snapshot of the contemporary relevance of Pink Floyd – which one week ago released a new track for the first time in 28 years – the London-based act boasts 15.21 million monthly listeners on Spotify, to 14.25 million for Bruce Springsteen, 9.1 million for Bob Dylan, 9.9 million for Sting, and 7.2 million for Paul Simon.

BMG closed out April by acquiring an interest in the catalog of Primal Scream, having opened an office in Mexico and signed the George Harrison estate to a global publishing deal earlier in the month. Meanwhile, Warner Music used April to relocate WMG Canada, establish a foothold in the Bollywood music scene, wrap an NFT partnership, and debut an in-house podcast network.

And today, Warner Music announced a $77.2 million quarterly dividend after shares touched a 52-week low in the wake of the release of the company’s Q2 FY 2022 earnings report.