QUEEN Catalog To Be Acquired By SONY MUSIC For $1.27 Billion

June 20, 2024

According to Variety, Sony Music is in the process of acquiring the music catalog of the rock band QUEEN for £1 billion (around $1.27 billion).

The deal reportedly covers QUEEN's songs and all related intellectual property — including the rights to logos, music videos, merchandise, publishing and other business opportunities. The only revenue not covered in the deal is for live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still actively tour with singer Adam Lambert, will retain.

Complicating the deal is the fact that Disney Music Group owns QUEEN's recorded music catalog in North America which it acquired at some point in the 2000s.

The £1 billion price tag makes QUEEN the biggest deal of its kind, surpassing the $500 million that Sony reportedly paid to acquire Bruce Springsteen's catalog in late 2021.

Earlier this year, Sony also acquired a 50% interest in Michael Jackson's music from the late singer's estate for at least $600 million.

In an incredible career spanning five decades, QUEEN's indelible influence on rock history is unrivalled. The band has amassed a staggering archive of accolades and honors, including seven Ivor Novello awards, an MTV Global Icon Award and three songs enshrined in the Grammy Hall Of Fame. With record sales in the hundreds of millions, plus a string of chart-topping albums and singles, QUEEN is undoubtedly one of the U.K.'s most successful and best loved national treasures. With one of the most enduring song catalogs of all time, including "We Will Rock You", "We Are The Champions", "Don't Stop Me Now", "Radio Ga Ga", "Somebody To Love" and, of course, "Bohemian Rhapsody", their musical repertoire is second to none. The glittering legacy created by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon lives on through the ongoing partnership of May and Taylor, now joined by Lambert.

Formed in 1971, QUEEN signed their first recording contract with EMI in late 1972. In July 1973, QUEEN released their first single "Keep Yourself Alive", followed closely by their debut album, "Queen". 1974 saw the release of the band's second album, "Queen II", containing their first hit single "Seven Seas Of Rhye" which charted in the U..K at No. 10. This was followed by a second hit single (their first U.S. hit),"Killer Queen", taken from the "Sheer Heart Attack" album, followed later in the year by a major U.K. tour.

1975 saw the release of the epic single "Bohemian Rhapsody", taken from "A Night At The Opera". At five minutes and 55 seconds, it should have been too long for successful radio play, but even so it went to No. 1 in the U.K. chart and stayed there for an unprecedented nine consecutive weeks, becoming one of the greatest singles of all time. In 1977, QUEEN issued the single "We Are The Champions" coupled with "We Will Rock You". Both songs would soon become among the band's most popular and best loved of their career — and long after. "The Champions/Rock You" pairing is one of the most famous and most played in the world. The single was followed by the release of QUEEN's sixth album, "News Of The World", in October 1977. From then on, the band released album after album, and toured all over Europe, Japan, the U.S. and South America. At the end of 1981 the band teamed up with David Bowie for the single that was to become one of their biggest worldwide hits, and one of the most covered and sampled of all QUEEN songs, "Under Pressure". 1984 saw the single "Radio Ga Ga" from "The Works" become a worldwide hit, reaching No. 1 in 19 countries.

1986 saw the 12th album, "A Kind Of Magic", effectively the soundtrack to the Russell Mulcahy film "Highlander". The album returned the band to No.1 on the charts in many territories. QUEEN toured Europe throughout the year, culminating with two legendary concerts at Wembley Stadium, and their biggest ever in the U.K., an open-air show at Knebworth Park, in August. Unbeknown at the time, this was to be QUEEN's last-ever concert with Freddie Mercury.

In 1991, QUEEN's last true studio album with Freddie, "Innuendo", was released in February. Both the title track single and the album entered the charts at No.1 on their first week of release in the U.K. The last track released as a single, "The Show Must Go On", came in November 1991, just weeks before Freddie Mercury would lose his struggle with HIV AIDS.

On November 23, 1991, Freddie Mercury announced to the world that he had AIDS and the next day he died peacefully at his home. He remains the most high-profile loss from the disease in the entertainment world and the news shocked fans throughout the world. As a tribute, "Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days Of Our Lives" was released as a double A-sided single to raise funds for the Terence Higgins Trust. It entered the U.K. chart at No. 1, where it stayed for five weeks, raising over £1,000,000 for the charity, and QUEEN became the first band to have the same single top the U.K. charts twice. In December of that year, QUEEN had 10 albums in the U.K. Top 100. In 1992 Freddie was awarded posthumously the BRIT's "Outstanding Contribution To British Music" and "Days Of Our Lives" won "Best Single". In April, many of the world's top stars joined Brian, Roger and John on stage at Wembley for an emotional tribute to Freddie.

In 1995 the unreleased tracks QUEEN had begun in 1991 with Freddie were completed by Brian, Roger and John and the long-awaited "Made In Heaven" was released worldwide, to huge acclaim and success. It was the last QUEEN album ever to feature Freddie, and it was the end of an era.

In May 2002 the hit musical "We Will Rock You" opened to sell-out audiences in London's West End. The show has seen local productions staged throughout the world, including Spain, Australia, Germany, Russia, Italy, Japan, South Asia, Las Vegas, Canada and across Europe.

In October 2002, QUEEN received their own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, joining THE BEATLES as one of only a handful of non-U.S. bands to receive this much coveted honor. In 2004 QUEEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and was also voted by the U.K. public into the first UK Music Hall Of Fame.

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