Ted Gioia has been tracking big sales of musicians’ back catalogs — his analysis is pretty strident and points to a future where the music industry of the next five years looks a lot like publishing does today; musicians are trying to get ahead of the curve and prepare for a world dominated by a few streaming proivders.
As this Marketwatch piece notes, there are a few other timely factors as well. The pandemic has made touring, which accounts for a huge amount of a band’s revenue, impossible. A combination of low interest rates (for buyers) and the possibility of higher estate taxes (for sellers) also makes the timing right. And there’s also facing up to that other inevitability besides taxes:
Prince. Aretha Franklin. James Brown. Tom Petty.
Besides being beloved music legends, what do these icons have in common? They died without leaving wills to dictate how to manage their estates, and so the rights to their songs and other assets got tangled up in lawsuits.