John Legend Sells His Music Catalog

Image: Matt Winkelmeyer/WireImage

EGOT winner John Legend became the latest music star to cash in on the growing market for music rights, selling a catalog dating back to his first album to KKR & Co. and BMG.

The terms of the deal were agreed upon in September but was not announced until recently.

The agreement with Legend covers “all present and future accounts and payment intangibles” for the right to collect royalties and other income from music he composed or wrote from Dec. 1, 2004, to Jan. 1, 2021, as well as the copyrights to the works, according to a Uniform Commercial Code financial statement filed in November in New York state (John Legend Music Inc. is based in New York).

According to the regulatory filing, Legend sold both “the copyrights as well as the rights to receive royalties from music he wrote from late 2004 through early last year.” DL Music IP LP, an affiliate of San Francisco-based KKR Credit Advisors (US) LLC, and BMG Rights Management (US) LLC each have purchased a 50% stake in the catalog. 

The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. 

Unlike the other artists like Tina Turner who have sold their music catalogs and are retired, Legend at 43, is much younger and will continue to create new music in the future.

“It’s a great time to be a seller because the valuations are so high,” said Eli Ball, founder of Lyric Financial, a provider of financial services to the music community that’s owned by Utopia Music. “Legend is still at the top of his game, and he has even more platforms to exploit his music, which is good for him, KKR, and BMG.”

Legend has worked with BMG since it acquired its music publisher, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., in 2010. 

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