Sony Buys Queen Music Catalog for $1 Billion

The rock band Queen in concert in 1984. (L to r) lead singer Freddie Mercury, John Deacon
Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty

Sony Music has reportedly bought the music catalog of English rock band Queen, including hits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, and Another One Bites The Dust, for around $1.27 billion.

The news was first reported by Hits; according to the outlet, the only revenue outside the deal is for live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still actively tour with singer Adam Lambert, will retain.

Another interested player was said to be very close in the bidding, but stopped short at $900 million, with music rights seen as an attractive investment because songs continue to generate money for decades.

The $1 billion price tag means it is the biggest deal of its kind, surpassing the $500 million Sony paid to acquire Bruce Springsteen’s catalogue in late 2021.

File/Queen members Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon seen here in New Orleans, USA, where they are rehearsing for their forthcoming tour of South America. 21st September 1981 (Gavin Kent/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, Sony also acquired a 50 percent interest in Michael Jackson’s music from the late singer’s estate – at a cost of at least $600 million, the BBC notes.

Queen are more popular than either of those artists, with 52 million monthly listeners on Spotify – compared to 41 million for Jackson and 20 million for Springsteen.

According to its most recent financial statements as seen by the BBC, Queen Productions Ltd made $52 million in the year ending September 2022.

The proceeds are shared equally between guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, bass player John Deacon and the estate of late singer Freddie Mercury.

Variety reports the success of the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody shows the potential for the group’s name and likeness rights, and the likelihood of a jukebox musical that could open in London or on Broadway and then tour indefinitely.

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