Bruce Springsteen, Sony in catalog sale talks

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Springsteen’s album catalog, which has grossed 65.5 million U.S. sales according to the RIAA website, and which includes 15 times platinum Born in the United States and quintuple platinum River, still has plenty of firepower, as its music has generated 2.25 million units of album consumption in the United States since the start of 2018, according to MRC Data.

While Springsteen has long been associated with Columbia Records and Sony Music, he was one of a handful of superstar artists including Garth Brooks, AC / DC, Pink Floyd and other Sony artists Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson who all succeeded in regaining ownership. of their masters recorded in the last decades of the 20th century.

But now, it seems like the perfect time for artists who own their copyrights to cash in and sell them, and the income streams they generate, especially older artists who need to start thinking about estate planning. In recent years, musical assets have generated the highest multiples in history, with catalogs of iconic songs selling 25 to 30 times the publishers’ net share (gross profit), while the registered masters superstar are sell 15 to 20 times a net multiple. label share (also gross profit, but with more complicated cost deductions than publishing).

On top of that, with Democrats in power in Washington, there is a movement to raise capital gains taxes well above their current level of 20%. So despite widespread fear that any capital gains tax increase will be retroactive, many sellers scramble to close deals before the end of the year in hopes that the increase will apply. not until 2022. It looks like Springsteen is on the verge of accomplishing that – at least for its master recordings.

Billboard estimates that the Springsteen catalog generated around $ 15 million in revenue in 2020 in a year that saw its catalog activity bolstered by a new release – last October Letter to you – and the postponement of 3 albums released in 2019: Western stars, the Western stars soundtrack and the Blinded by the light soundtrack.

By averaging the past three years of financial statistics from the Springsteen Catalog – a common strategy used to determine valuations – Billboard estimates that Springsteen’s master record catalog averaged around $ 12 million in sales. After deduction of production and distribution costs of 20% of turnover, Billboard estimates that the Springsteen catalog produced gross profit of $ 9.6 million. At a multiple of 15, that would suggest an estimate of $ 145 million; at a multiple of 20 times that would put the valuation at around $ 190 million.

Further away, Billboard estimates that Springsteen’s publishing catalog brings in around $ 7.5 million per year. Therefore, the estimated value of the Springsteen Publishing Catalog ranges from $ 185 million (at a multiple of 25) to $ 225 million (at a multiple of 30).

However, it is not known if Springsteen has chosen a buyer for its edition catalog. Some sources suggest that Sony acquires the publishing catalog with the main recordings; others say the publishing catalog may still be at stake. According to these latest sources, the publishing catalog is being reviewed by one or more of the large privately funded publishing companies.

In any event, sources claim that the Springsteen camp was very selective about who they bought their rights from and, in fact, some suggest that large private equity firms could have been approached to ask for their rights. can be used as a Trojan horse to achieve the desired price target. from Sony.

All told, if Springsteen sells all of his rights, that means his payday could go anywhere from $ 330 million to $ 415 million, according to Billboard estimates.

Sony declined to comment, while a representative for Springsteen could not provide any information.

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