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Queen's $1.2Bn music sale to Sony is good news for you

Queen have become the latest in a long line of iconic music stars who have all been in the news for the same reason.

Stevie Nicks, Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan, Katy Perry, Shakira, Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, the Beach Boys and many others have each sold their music catalog (all sold their publishing rights, some also their recordings) for many hundreds of millions of dollars.

Queen recently sold both their recordings and music publishing rights to Sony Music (to be administered by Sony's record label and publishing company respectively) for a reported $1.2 billion dollars.

Why are these deals being done?

These artists wrote iconic songs that have been the soundtrack to people’s lives.

They each own the songwriting copyrights to a lot of incredibly famous songs. And songwriting copyrights last for ~70 years after the death of the writer.

So although artists may be coming to the end of their careers, their work can carry on making money for a long time into the future.

From the artists perspective, it makes sense to cash in big today by selling the rights to all these future copyright earnings. 

David Bowie first pioneered this general approach in 1997 - he used so-called 'Bowie Bonds' to raise $55 million (when that was a lot of money :)

On the flip side of the deal, private equity firms like Hipgnosis and Primary Wave along with large music publishers such as Universal who bought Bob Dylans's song catalog and now Sony with Queen's publishing and recordings, are investing many hundreds of millions of dollars today because they know the long term value of the songs is not in question.

They are making these investments with a clear expectation of greatly increased monetisation over the coming decades.

How does this affect your routine's music?

Well - having invested hundreds of millions of dollars in song copyrights, these companies are not going to just sit back and relax.

They are looking at how they can hit the ground running and start to earn back that investment right away.

There are two ways this will impact you and your routine's music:

They will start to come down hard on infringement.

Sony's record label caused huge disruption to Cheerleading when they sued the US governing body, event producers, and music producers for copyright infringement a few years ago.

Increasingly the music industry is looking to tackle infringers to increase its revenues, and this is a worldwide issue that is not restricted to the USA.

So be prepared to prove that you have the publishing rights from every songwriter on each song you use in your mix as well as the rights to the recording; rights that allow you to edit and adapt the songs into your mix, choreograph and perform a routine to the songs, and ensure that the rights are available to use online, in live streams, and video on demand.

Click here for a more detailed explanation about publishing rights, how they are licensed, and the complexity of licensing from the potentially large number of writers who can be involved in the creation of each song.

If that all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry - every track on ClicknClear already has all these recording and publishing rights included in the price of our license, so you don’t need to do anything further when you use our music to make your mix.

Plus, our LVS online tool helps both you and event organizers prove that you have licensed the necessary rights.

You will start being able to use more of these awesome songs in your routine.

When songs are owned by their creators, they are treated like their ‘babies’ - they are precious works of art and the writers can understandably be very picky about how, if at all, they are used by others.

In some of the 1,100+ deals we have with music industry record labels and publishers, certain artists and writers can be listed as ‘restricted,’ meaning that as much as you (and we) want to use their work in your routines, they won’t let you. And it is their right to decide that.

But, with people who need to make money now owning such songs, these restrictions will likely be lifted and sports music mixes will increasingly get access to these newly-sold catalogs - Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, and many other classic tracks will soon be open for business.

So ultimately, these big-money deals you see in the news will also end up being very good news for you and your routine's music!


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