KISS's Music Catalog, Brand Name And IP Acquired By Swedish Investment Firm POPHOUSE

April 4, 2024

Pophouse has today concluded a landmark agreement with the iconic band KISS. Pophouse is the Swedish entertainment and music investment firm renowned for its development of brand-building activities in music and entertainment, such as the groundbreaking "ABBA Voyage" show in London, in which Pophouse is the founding investor.

Pophouse has acquired KISS's artist share of the master recordings and publishing rights. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Fortune reports that the band is being paid over $300 million.

Working closely with KISS, Pophouse will follow its unique, value-add approach of drawing upon its world-class, in-house creative and storytelling expertise to unlock new audiences and revenue streams. Pophouse will use its proven, industry-defining playbook to create new content and experiences to enrich the KISS catalog for fans, old and new, actively seeking to enrich and add value to the brands and artists it partners with. Inclusivity and community have always been vital to the KISS experience, and Pophouse is committed to nurture the close relationship between KISS and its devoted fans moving forward.

Johan Lagerlöf, head of investment at Pophouse, says: "KISS is one of the most recognized and iconic bands in the history of music. They redefined the concept of rock shows and have always taken their artistry to new uncharted territories. The band has consistently been able to appeal to new generations of fans and our mission is to fulfill the band's vision to become immortal, and to let new generations discover and be part of the KISS journey and carry it forward. With the help of the fans' energy, the band, our expertise, and creativity we will make that vision happen."

Per Sundin, CEO at Pophouse Entertainment, says: "KISS has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and has throughout their 50-year career continued to push the boundaries in popular culture. The band's enigmatic personas, unparalleled band attributes, and iconic imagery have made them a cultural force and a legendary act with multigenerational appeal. We will safeguard and enrich this legacy through future global endeavors, by breathing new life into their characters and personas while also leveraging and elevating the visual world of KISS."

As part of the partnership, Pophouse will create digital versions of KISS that will allow the band and their unique personas to live forever. The project, already underway, was previewed at the final KISS show in Madison Square Garden, New York on December 2, 2023, when, to the audience's surprise, KISS avatars closed the night with a rendition of "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" (resulting in international headlines). Through a magical combination of cutting-edge technology and unrivalled creativity, Pophouse will bring the full, authentic KISS experience to both existing and new fans for years to come. The avatar show is planned to launch in 2027.

Gene Simmons, bassist and co-founder of KISS, said: "We have always been breaking new ground in popular culture, and this partnership will ensure that we continue to do so for years to come. Because what Pophouse is doing, is breaking rules. We already have several plans in development, where the avatar show is one, a biopic another and a KISS-themed experience a third. The future could not be more exciting!"

Paul Stanley, lead vocalist and co- founder of KISS, says: "Our journey with Pophouse is fueled by the desire to eternally resonate across diverse facets of global culture. As we embark on this venture, we aim to weave our legacy into the tapestry of different worlds, ensuring that the KISS experience continues to captivate both our devoted fans and those yet to discover the thrill. This partnership is not just a chapter; it's an eternal symphony of rock 'n' roll immortality."

The partnership with KISS marks Pophouse's second investment outside of Sweden, following the acquisition of Cyndi Lauper's music catalogue, adding a truly global brand with a diverse and dedicated fanbase to the firm's portfolio of international artists.

Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young are some of the iconic musicians who have recently sold off substantial rights to their music, whether it's just for publishing or the original recordings, known as masters. Investors, major music companies and private equity firms have poured billions of dollars into buying song catalogs, believing that the rise of streaming and growing music revenues will make song rights acquisitions highly lucrative in the long term as they can be exploited for up to 70 years after a musician's death.

Asked in a January 2022 interview with A Journal Of Musical Things if KISS would ever sell its catalog to anyone, Simmons replied: "How much have you got? Bob Dylan sold his stuff for $300-400 million. The problem — and I love the guy and worship the ground he walks on — but [his music] isn't going to mean a lot to a 20-year-old. They don't care about 'The Times They Are A-Changin'', 'Maggie's Farm' — they just don't. Very few pieces of music stand the test of time. What KISS has that no other musical entity has is trademarks. Our faces are bigger than the music, bigger than anything.'

The KISS bassist/vocalist continued: "Springsteen just sold for $500 million and what you get is the music, not the imagery. I've never seen a Springsteen cartoon, comic book, or action figures. KISS is the only one. So what you're buying into — if anyone does the right price — you're into buying the imagery that has stood the test of time. Our analogy is Santa Claus/Superman: imagery that is trademarked so that no one can reproduce. And no other musical act has that."

A year earlier, Stanley told Ultimate Classic Rock that the idea of older musicians selling their publishing rights in multimillion bundle deals made perfect sense to him. "As far as I know, we only get one trip on this earth, and you can't take it with you, so I totally get it," he said. "If there's money to be had and it's going to make your life better, then why not? It's a different business model, but it makes total sense... At some point in your career, you look at what you've created and what it's worth. Artists do that; it's what painting's about. You don't stash your artwork — you sell it."

KISS continues to be among the most merchandised bands in history and a pioneering force in the music merchandise and licensing industry, with KISS-branded merchandise available in major retailers around the globe, including Nordstrom, Macy's, Urban Outfitters, Hot Topic, Torrid, Tilly's, Pacsun, Cotton On, Revolve, Nasty Gal, Princess Polly, Target, Walmart and Kohl's, among many more.

Recent KISS deals in North America include Dead Sled Coffee, for pre-packaged coffee in the U.S.; a fashion and accessories collaboration with Robert Graham in the U.S.; high-end apparel with Lauren Moshi in the U.S.; a line of seasonal apparel with Ugly Christmas Sweater for Holiday 2021 in the U.S. In the international marketplace, recent strategic partnerships include Brands For Fans for gin and dark rum in Europe, Japan, and Australia; Metal Departments for real money gambling worldwide; Fexpro for apparel and accessories in Mexico, Central America, and South America; Konnekt for apparel and accessories in Japan; and EastPak for bags, backpacks and accessories in U.S. Europe, Middle East, Asia and Canada; among many others.

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