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Mötley Crüe Sell Entire Catalog to BMG for $150 Million

  • Axl Rosenberg

Mötley Crüe have sold their entire catalog to BMG, Variety reports.

The industry trade mag says the deal “is valued at approximately $150 million, although other sources cited a significantly lower number.” And the band may not be collecting all the money immediately:

“[I]t’s also possible some of the money was paid upfront, with the remainder being delivered once the group completes its long-delayed North American tour — which is likely to drive up the group’s streaming numbers, from which most of the catalog’s revenue will derive — now scheduled for the summer of 2022.”

To date, Mötley Crüe have sold over 100 million albums worldwide, and seven of their nine albums have gone platinum or multi-platinum. So whatever the number is and whenever it gets paid out, it’s certainly more money than most of us will ever make in our lifetimes combined.

The Crüe themselves acquired the catalog from Elektra Records during contract renegotiations in the ’90s. Bassist Nikki Sixx once reportedly called that label’s then-president, Sylvia Rhone, a “cunt,” so I guess those negotiations went smoothly.

The band’s manager, Allen Kovac, described the deal more politically in 2019 interview with Forbes:

“We traded a contractual advance. Sylvia Rhone at Elektra had not wanted to pay so we made a deal: ‘Give us $2 million, keep $10 million and Mötley will own their masters and copyrights.’ So this band earned $150 million dollars and dropped $10 million for $140 million total. Only in the music industry could this happen!”

Mötley Crüe certainly exploited the shit outta that catalog, too: in addition to their tours, The Dirt movie, and various album reissues, they’ve released about eighteen-trillion greatest hits packages, too.

Mötley Crüe have addressed the sale in a statement:

“It feels amazing to be collaborating with our new partners at BMG. Their extensive track record of success in rock made them the perfect home to continue preserving and growing our musical legacy, ensuring we always stay at the top.”

Kovac adds:

“After working side by side with BMG for well over a decade, the relationship we have developed and success we’ve accomplished over the years made this a very easy transition to entrust with this treasured rock catalog. Working with BMG in any capacity, whether that’s publishing or records, has always been a great experience.”

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch concludes:

“This is more than just a significant transaction. It’s a new chapter for an extraordinary catalog. Few bands understand the myth and the magic of rock like Mötley Crüe do. In an increasingly competitive rights acquisition market, artists need to be convinced that a buyer will do the right thing with their work. I am delighted that Mötley Crüe have decided BMG will be the best custodians of their musical career.”

Assuming the pandemic doesn’t force another lockdown and they can keep Vince Neil upright long enough, Mötley Crüe will reunite for a stadium tour with Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett in 2022. Here are the dates:

6/16 – Atlanta, GA @ Suntrust Park [tickets]
6/18 – Miami, FL @ Hard Rock Stadium [tickets]
6/19 – Orlando, FL @ Camping World Stadium [tickets]
6/22 – Washington, DC @ Nationals Park [tickets]
6/24 – Queens, NY @ Citi Field [tickets]
6/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Citizens Bank Park [tickets]
6/28 – Charlotte, NC @ Bank Of America Stadium [tickets]
6/30 – Nashville, TN @ Nissan Stadium [tickets]
7/2 – Jacksonville, FL @ TIAA Bank Field [tickets]
7/5 – St. Louis, MO @ Busch Stadium [tickets]
7/8 – Chicago, IL @ Wrigley Field [tickets]
7/10 – Detroit, MI @ Comerica Park [tickets]
7/12 – Hershey, PA @ Hershey Park Stadium [tickets]
7/14 – Cleveland, OH @ First Energy Stadium [tickets]
7/15 – Cincinnati, OH @ Great American Ballpark [tickets]
7/17 – Milwaukee, WI @ American Family Field [tickets]
7/19 – Kansas City, MO @ Kauffman Stadium [tickets]
7/21 – Denver, CO @ Coors Field [tickets]
8/5 – Boston, MA @ Fenway Park [tickets]
8/6 – Boston, MA @ Fenway Park [tickets]
8/10 – Buffalo, NY @ New Era Field [tickets]
8/12 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PNC Park [tickets]
8/14 – Minneapolis, MN @ U.S. Bank Stadium [tickets]
8/19 – Houston, TX @ Minute Maid Park [tickets]
8/21 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamodome [tickets]
8/22 – Arlington, TX @ Globe Life Park [tickets]
8/27 – Inglewood, CA @ Sofi Stadium [tickets]
8/28 – San Diego, CA @ Petco Park [tickets]
8/31 – Seattle, WA @ T-Mobile Park [tickets]
9/7 – San Francisco, CA @ Oracle Park [tickets]

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