Irving Azoff’s Iconic Acquires Rod Stewart Catalog, Reveals Over $1 Billion Tranche for Future Song-Rights Purchases

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A performance from Rod Stewart, who’s sold his song rights to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group in a reportedly $100 million deal. Photo Credit: Joe Bielawa

Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group (IAG) has purchased the music IP of Rod Stewart and secured north of $1 billion for future catalog investments. 

At the time of this writing, Iconic hadn’t penned a formal release about the transaction or the raise. The company had, however, quoted and linked to a Wall Street Journal report on the subjects, seemingly confirming the corresponding details in the process. On the capital front, those details refer specifically to an over $1 billion raise led by New York’s HPS Investment Partners.

(Moments after our piece was published, Barron International Group representatives emailed IAG’s full release regarding the pact with Stewart and the newly obtained $1 billion, communicating also that Barron had acted as HPS’ financial advisor in connection with the strategic investment.)

IAG has long employed the same approach when announcing deals, with plays for IP from The Beach Boys, Dean Martin, and Linda Ronstadt, to name some, having come to light in pieces from the LA Times, Azoff’s Pollstar, and more.

As another pertinent aside, it was only last May that 79-year-old Rod Stewart put the kibosh on catalog-sale talks with Hipgnosis, expressing the belief that the troubled company wasn’t the right choice “to manage my song catalog, career, or legacy.”

Those failed discussions evidently set the stage for comparatively fruitful and quick-moving conversations with Iconic Artists Group, which has per the Journal scooped up “interests” in the “Maggie May” creator’s publishing catalog and recorded rights, as noted.

Also included in the “nearly $100 million” sale are “some” of the London native’s name and likeness rights, according to the mentioned source. With 11.63 million Spotify monthly listeners to his credit, the one-time Grammy winner Stewart is set to release (with Jools Holland) an album entitled Swing Fever on the 23rd.

Bigger picture, Iconic’s new song-rights bet represents just the latest in a line of blockbuster transactions. Though the red-hot music-IP space appeared to be cooling for a while amid rising rates and economic uncertainty – besides a purchase pause from Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which had been on an acquisition spree before hitting several operational roadblocks – capital is continuing to pour into the sphere.

On top of IAG’s announcement of the Stewart tie-up and the $1 billion tranche, February has also seen Sony Music spend a reported $600 million on a 50 percent interest in the work of Michael Jackson. Beyond this massive deal – the catalog valuation behind which looks to be the largest to date, assuming the $600 million figure is accurate – Universal Music last month bought South Asian label Oriental Star Agencies’ catalog.

Additionally, Anthem Entertainment closed out January by scoring an agreement with Beth and Luke Laird’s Creative Nation, whereas Believe (which could be going private) added to its portfolio “Punjabi powerhouse” White Hill Music’s catalog against the backdrop of India’s rapid industry expansion.

More recently, GoDigital earlier this week injected a quarter of a billion dollars into its Cinq Music subsidiary to fuel IP investments – with an “eight-figure” play reportedly in the wings.