Metallica Join Multi-Million Dollar Venture to Buy Song Catalogues and Other IP

  • Axl Rosenberg

It would appear that Metallica are getting into the potentially very-profitable business of owning other artists’ catalogs.

From Variety:

“Metallica and longtime co-manager Cliff Burnstein are among the parties involved in an intellectual-property acquisition venture that is being headed up by former longtime Morgan Stanley investment banker Paul Donahue, two sources close to the situation confirm to Variety.

“The source emphasized that the venture, which is called Worldwired Music IP Fund and will have resources in the $300-$500 million range, is not being led by the group or Burnstein — even though Worldwired is the name of the band’s most recent tour — although they are among the parties involved in it, which sources said also include former Fender president/COO Matt Janopaul and former Sony/ATV co-president Rick Krim. The venture will include song catalogs as part of its portfolio, which one source said is likely to include — but not be limited to — classic rock catalogs.”

In other words, we could end up in a world where if, say, a car company wants to use you dad’s favorite song in a commercial, they have to pay Metallica and their partners to do so.

The report goes on to say that their sources “could not clarify which other types of intellectual property assets the new venture will focus on.” But honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if at least part of it was focused on IP that could be turned into movies, television shows, or streaming content. They’ve made efforts to break into the film business before, and at a time when pretty much everything with even a little bit of brand value is being remade/ rebooted/ rewhatevered, that kind of IP is suddenly more valuable than ever.

It’s not an unprecedented move for artists to own other artists’ catalogs: in 1985, Michael Jackson famously spent $47.5 million to purchase ATV, whose 4,000-song catalog included songs by The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, and 250 Beatles songs.

You can read Variety‘s entire report here.

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