Richie Sambora sold his 200 song catalog to an investment fund called Hipgnosis Songs for a large undisclosed sum. Hipgnosis was founded by a former manager called Merck Mercuriadis, who has spent over $1 billion on catalogs over the past 4 years.
All of this activity is because of streaming.
Spotify is the great paradigm shift.
Streaming scales and it pays for the big songs. The publishing companies and investment funds are not stupid. The return on their purchases of catalogues can now be quantified because of the data available. It’s not hidden and shrouded in record label secrecy anymore.
Desmond Child mentioned in the linked article how in 2017, the publishing company that purchased his songs in the mid 90s made up that huge purchase price x 20.
And since Copyright terms last forever, these purchases are guaranteed to keep bringing monies into the companies for the life of the creator plus 70 years after death.
And Copyright law is designed for songs to fall into the public domain but artists and labels are finding different ways to circumvent these laws.
Like Bob Dylan.
His label released a collection of songs/jams with George Harrison in Europe. This release was in response to a European law which states that recordings will enter the public domain if they aren’t officially released by the copyright holder 50 years after their creation.
Since 2012, the Dylan team have been avoiding copyright laws by releasing albums in limited runs to avoid these songs from the entering the public domain.
I guess it’s not a bad time to be a musician with a huge catalogue of songs and a popular one at that.