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Special Report: The Evolution of Music Licensing

By Gary Symons, TLL Editor in Chief The Bob Dylan music deal with Universal Music has shown that for musicians and music companies, the times truly are a’changin’. But, in truth, that change was coming long before Universal stroked a check for a reported $300 million to $400 million, in return for Dylan’s entire music catalog of roughly 600 songs. Also in December Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks sold 80 per cent of the rights to her catalog of songs she wrote to music publisher Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. In August, Imagine Dragons sold their catalog for more than $100 million to Concord Music Publishing. What should have gained a lot more press, however, were the other deals happening in 2019 and building momentum through 2020. For… . . . read more

Neil Young to Cash In on Music Catalogs

Canadian rock star and songwriter Neil Young is out of the blue, and heavily into the black, after selling a 50 per cent interest in his music catalog for an estimated $150 million US. As noted in this week’s Special Report from The Licensing Letter, the past four years and 2020 in particular have seen a massive increase in the value and scale of music catalog deals. Sales rose from an average of $100 million to $200 million a year prior to 2016, to more than $4 billion in 2019. Figures for 2020 are not yet out, but music rights deals are expected to hit a new and dramatic high after landmark deals with Bob Dylan, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, and many others. Young’s sale… . . . read more

TikTok Inks Critical Licensing Deal with Sony Music

Another day, another TikTok licensing deal to report, but in this case, the agreement is critical to the way TikTok operates.  TikTok announced this week it has reached a new agreement with Sony Music Entertainment that allows its millions of users to use songs from SME’s vast roster of global music superstars, as well as its many emerging artists.  “We are thrilled to enter in to this agreement with Sony Music so that we can continue to work together to connect the incredible roster of Sony artists in the US and across the globe to new audiences and harness the power of TikTok,” said Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music for TikTok. “Especially during this time when the artist community is challenged to find new ways to reach fans with… . . . read more


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