BMG Acquires Catalog of ‘Without You’ Artist Harry Nilsson

harry nilsson
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harry nilsson
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Harry Nilsson in 1974. Photo Credit: RCA Records

Months after doubling down on its plans to continue acquiring song rights, BMG has purchased the catalog of singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson from the Brooklyn native’s estate.

The Bertelsmann subsidiary unveiled its latest music-IP play today, after closing deals involving the work of Jean-Michel Jarre, Simple Minds, John Lee Hooker, John Legend, and others during 2022’s initial 10 months. Though the transaction’s financials haven’t been publicly disclosed, BMG specified that the play encompasses “Nilsson’s publishing catalog, as well as artist and writer revenue streams of his hit songs.”

Throughout his decades-long career, Harry Nilsson released 18 studio albums and co-wrote tracks with (or for) the likes of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, The 5th Dimension, Modern Folk Quartet (with Phil Spector, per the official credits), and The Monkees, to name just some. Among the two-time Grammy winner’s better-known solo releases are “Without You,” “Everybody’s Talkin,’” and “Coconut.”

Moving forward, BMG said that it will coordinate with the family of Harry Nilsson (who passed away in 1994) to explore “global creative opportunities for their creative assets such as” The Point!, besides possible name, image, and likeness projects extending to television, theater, books, and “further areas of business.”

Addressing the investment in a statement, BMG’s president of repertoire and marketing for Los Angeles and New York, Thomas Scherer, said: “For generations, Harry Nilsson’s timeless music has captivated millions of people all around the world.

“A brilliant songwriter with an exceptionally beautiful and unique voice, we will ensure his spirit thrives for generations to come. We are honored the Nilsson family chose BMG to entrust as the custodians of his musical legacy and are proud to represent the cherished works of Harry Nilsson,” concluded the BMG exec, whose company’s catalog expenditures tripled during H1 2022.

Notwithstanding a relative decline in blockbuster catalog sales amid turbulence throughout the broader economy and a pause on new deals from Hipgnosis Songs Fund, 2022 has brought a steady stream of song-rights transactions.

Since October’s beginning alone, Influence Media Partners has scored a deal with Blake Shelton, Primary Wave has invested in Joey Ramone’s catalog as well as the work of Huey Lewis and The News, and Reservoir Media has finalized an agreement with the estate of Louis Prima.

Meanwhile, the long-rumored sale of Pink Floyd’s catalog, which could reportedly fetch $500 million, may still wrap despite delays stemming from disagreements among the group’s members, according to anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter.