Greatest Hits: From Stevie Nicks to Imagine Dragons, These Music Artists Are Selling Their Entire Catalogs - The Scene

These celebrities are making millions once again from the songs that made them rich and famous.

Successful recording artists, young and old, are capitalizing on their career’s work as part of the latest trend to hit the music industry.

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They’re selling the rights to their music catalogs, which are collections of songs and compositions that are created and registered under the name of an individual or entity.

The owner, who holds and controls the copyrights to these songs, receives income from the generated royalties whenever the music is consumed and used.

“Over the last years, music catalog acquisitions have been at the spotlight of the music scene. While these exchanges of property have always been happening within the music industry, recently they have been gathering a lot of attention from big capital players,” said ANote Music, the European marketplace for investing in music royalties.

According to the group, valuations of music catalogs are rising as multi-million deals take place and the streaming economy continues to grow. It also explained that investors looking to diversify their portfolio can minimize risk by spreading it over a whole music catalog rather than standalone songs.

It’s a win-win situation for artists, who are simply playing by ear—not facing the music.

Here are stars who recently sold their music catalogs and to whom.

Bob Dylan

Known for: Blowin’ in the Wind, Like a Rolling Stone, and The Times They Are a-Changin’

Sony Music Entertainment in a January 24 statement announced that it has fully acquired Dylan’s entire back catalog of recorded music, as well as rights to multiple future new releases.

Bruce Springsteen

Known for: Born to Run, Born in the USA, and Dancing in the Dark

Sony Music Group in a December 2021 statement said that it had acquired Springsteen’s entire recorded music and songwriting catalogs through separate agreements.

Imagine Dragons

Known for: Believer, Demons, and Radioactive

Concord Music Publishing in an August 2020 statement revealed it had acquired the catalog of the band Imagine Dragons.

John Legend

Known for: All of Me, Glory, and Ordinary People

BMG and KKR, which publicized their partnership in March 2021, have each purchased a 50% stake in Legend’s catalog.

Neil Young

Known for: Down by the River, Heart of Gold, and Old Man

The Board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited in a January 2021 statement said it acquired half of Neil Young’s worldwide copyright and income interests in his entire catalog comprising 1,180 songs.

Stevie Nicks

Known for: Dreams, Edge of Seventeen, and Talk to Me

Primary Wave in a December 2020 statement said it acquired a majority stake in Nicks’ publishing copyrights.


Known for: Hips Don’t Lie, She Wolf, and Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)

The Board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited announced in a January 2021 statement that it had acquired 100% of Shakira’s music publishing rights of her entire catalog comprising 145 songs.

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

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