They will even take less than "fair market value"
I used to tell my students " . . . your goal in life is to hear you music on elevators," as I knew most of them wanted to "be famous."
This after I actually had heard "In a Gadda Da Vida" on an elevator . . . the 1001 strings version!
Uh, "wadda world!"
Math was never my best subject in school but even -I- couldn’t follow the math on some of these deals. Stevie Nicks? Bob Dylan? Neil Young? Great performers and writers, all, but does anyone under fifty recognize them to any degree? Do they have the catalogue of instantly recognizable songs that, say, Prince, Madonna, even Daryl Hall have (kudos to the latter two for not selling out). You tell me: How do -you- monetize “Maggie’s Farm”?
When Bob was inking his sweet, sweet deal, he must've been thinking, "Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"
I've been seeing more and more Boomer songs in new streaming series and movies. They are not entirely a bad fit, but the majority are. Example: Apple's "The Last Thing He Told Me," an above average mini series about the disapearance of a rich techie, opens with Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad," and droression era folk song. "Air," the Air Jordan's biopic, closes with "Born in the USA." Both seem to be clear marketing decisions to draw boomers like me. The songs have Nothing to do with the shows. But how long will filmmakers write those checks when the miserable ROI on them become clear? Or... maybe they are good Film investments? I don't see it. I see original songs in films as having greater traction. At least they did in the pre-streaming world.
If they were smart, the investment funds would sell off the songs individually. To rich fans. What billionaire wouldn't love to say he owns Lay, Lady, Lay or Bridge Over Troubled Water or Heart Of Gold? The artists themselves could even buy back a few sentimental favorites. Or they could auction them off. Or raffle them. "Win a song and collect royalties your whole life!" Get creative!
at least Tom Waits has never sold out...(!)
Hey watch what you say about El Paso. I’ve commissioned two versions of the Marty Robbins song, as tributes to my former Gunn hoops teammate, who set the Miners record for most games played, was drafted by the Knicks, was all Australia , died jan 28 2023 in Melbourne after dvt.
Two thoughts arising form the great article (yes Ted, you did predict it!) and many of the comments. First, while I agree and have agreed with Ted's argument, I don't think the latest sales can be assumed to be conclusive evidence that the assets are not worth (at the present time) the declared fair market value and the market is collapsing now. Every industry is being hit with asset sales when business models based on debt leverage cannot cope with sharply increased interest rates. There are opportunistic deals to be had in any market right now (and horrible sales to be made and endured) because the interest cost of the leveraging loans is unexpectedly enormous. And that drives investors who at one time were happy with a lower return on investment demanding higher returns to account for the inflation causing such interest rate increases. Some ill-prepared management teams get caught in the squeeze.
Second, several ask why the artists are selling their songs (hardly "for a song") when they have so much cash already. Answer: inheritance taxes, increasing income and capital gain taxes, kids with no musical or business talent that will fight and mess up the value of the songs: better to sell the assets and hand them cash on a tax efficient basis for an annuity rather than see the fighting that the beneficiaries of Prince's estate and others engage in for decades. I think I saw commentary on a couple of "portfolios" sold immediately prior to the latest federal income tax rates coming into effect.
I am a folk singer, happy as can be, I pick up songs like shells from the sea...
I loved Donovan in his soundtrack of Zefferelli's "Brother Sun, Sister Moon." (Ok, fire me!) I could never listen to him outside of that movie though. Film and music should be an artistic collaboration, with "pressure" To commercialize from the financiers. The decisions seen now to be starting from the financial end. At least with respect to the boomer music. Sad.
A substack piece by Charles Hugh Smith hit my inbox at the same moment as this piece. Charles is discussing the endless popularity of old songs and the vapidity of new material.
He was triggered by hearing a 50-year-old rock song as the theme of an ad for Ford trucks. Maybe that's a clue about the destination of these catalogs?
Your karma bit made me smile. Thanks for this; you show me aspects of life I am ignorant about; and you do it with wit and insight.
I played a gig a couple months ago with the bass player of Cameo. He's featured most famously on their song 'Word Up.' I just went to a dinner at a gastropub and they had music playing on the sound system. That song came on and wished I could have been on that recording. It's still being played on TV shows, movie soundtracks, and now in restaurants...yet it came out in the '80s.
Wall Street be Wall Street
Quite simply, why the fuck did or do any of them need more money? The musical versions of George fucking Clooney hawking fucking plastic coffee pellets. Where’s their fucking dignity?
Bill called it. Rock stars for diet coke.
(Note. This contains gratuitous swearing, and without context some may think he’s mocking George’s sexuality. He’s not - watch the full routine which i’m not going to link to.)
A lot of good points there . . . two others from the Billboard article are (1) the songs were sold to a sister company that is connected with BlackRock, which is a bit questionable, and (2) though sold for under "fair market value", they were also sold for 25% more than Hipgnosis paid. So maybe not _such_ a bad deal.