How Much Are Musicians Selling Their Back Catalogues For?

Following news that Tina Turner sold the rights to her music catalogue, we look at other artists who have also cashed-in on the rights to their work.


News broke this week that Tina Turner has become the latest high-profile music star to sell the rights to their music catalogue.

Bob Dylan sold the rights to around 600 songs spanning over six decades, in a major deal last year. (Getty Images).

Music publishers BMG brokered a deal that bought it the rights to hits such as ‘The Best’ and ‘Nutbush City Limits’. The deal also includes the rights to use Turner’s image, likeness and name too.

It’s the latest in a series of similar deals that have seen many music superstars cash in as well. The believed thinking behind the acceleration in such moves is the uncertainty over just where music revenues will go moving forward, as criticism around the amount musicians earn through streaming continues. As such, it makes sense for recording artists to sell the rights to their catalogues, whilst they know they can command a good price for them.

That said, the price tags fluctuate, and the values of the assorted back catalogues varies wildly. Here’s a rundown of who’s sold their work, and for how much (unless unknown)…

BOB DYLAN: $300m

In one of the most significant music deals of the century, Bob Dylan sold his catalogue last year for a huge sum. The deal covers 600 songs covering six decades, including Times They Are a-Changin’, Lay Lady Lay and Tangled Up in Blue.

Taylor Swift set to work on re-recording her back catalogue her manager carried out a deal without her approval. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)


Perhaps the most troublesome sale of them all. Taylor Swift’s back catalogue was sold to a private equity fund in a move that was described by the singer as the ‘worst case scenario’ after her music manager Scooter Braun carried out the deal without Swift’ approval. Swift not only accused Braun of bullying and intimidation, but also went on to re-record her work as a way of devaluing the sale.

At the time Neil Young entered into a deal with Hipgnosis back at the start of 2021, he had 1,180 in his catalogue to sell. The price he agreed for the rights to them – well, part of them, was a cool $150m. Even better for Young, that chunk of change only paid for 50% of those aforementioned rights. He retains the other half of their ownership.


Almost a year ago to the day, Vine Alternative Investments acquired the song catalogue of Grammy Award-winning producer and one of Scotland’s greatest exports, Calvin Harris, for a reported fee of $100m.

STEVIE NICKS: $100million

Nicks sold 80% of her back catalogue for a nine-digit sum last year. The deal not only included Nicks’ biggest hits as a solo artist, but also included some of her work as a member of Fleetwood Mac, such as the beloved classic ‘Dreams’. Here you go again, you say you want your freedom? No, but a healthy $100m will do.

(Photo by Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images for MTV)


It appears $100m is the standard figure for this form of musical business. And with more than 10 billion streams, everyone’s favourite French producer (well, whynow’s Jamie Lucas, at least), could command the same fee.

TINA TURNER: Undisclosed

In the latest development, publisher BMG have acquired the ‘Queen of Rock n’ Roll’s’ recordings, image management and neighbouring rights. Whilst the exact figure has not been fully disclosed, the deal is said to be the single largest artist acquisition struck by BMG, with the company declaring they will ‘be a partner in all of Tina Turner’s music interest.

THE KILLERS: Undisclosed

Las Vegas rock outfit The Killers sold their pre-2020 works to holding company Eldridge. Whilst the fee has not been revealed, the Mr. Brightside singers will undoubtedly have been Mr. Money-makers with a catalogue that consisted of more than 28million album sales worldwide and a significant number of hits.

PAUL SIMON: Undisclosed

Sony Pictures swooped in to acquire six decades worth of Paul Simon music back in March of 2021. It got a lot for the undisclosed fee too, including hits Simon wrote when he was performing as part of Simon & Garfunkel, as well as his many solo works. That specifically includes his biggest-selling album, ‘Graceland’.

SHAKIRA: Undisclosed

Joining the trend at the start of 2021 was singer Shakira, who inked a deal for her 145-song catalogue. She became the latest to sell a catalogue to Hipgnosis, a firm that’s been snapping up a massive catalogue of songs. In the case of Shakira’s works, many of which she’s written, the asking price wasn’t revealed. The purchase gives Hipgnosis 100% of the rights.

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