Queen's catalog sells to Sony Music for over $1 billion in record-breaking deal: reports

Posed group portrait - Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and John Deason (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Legendary British rock band Queen's music catalog has been acquired by Sony Music in a deal worth more than $1 billion, according to reports.

On Friday, the music industry trade publication Hits reported that Sony had emerged triumphant in a battle with other recording giants to claim ownership of Queen's catalog for £1 billion (approximately $1.2 billion). Two sources confirmed the staggering deal to Variety.

According to Hits, the only revenue that Sony will not receive under the deal is money generated from live performances. Founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor continue to perform as Queen in collaboration with singer Adam Lambert in place of the band's late frontman, Freddie Mercury.

Per Hits, another potential buyer vying to obtain Queen's catalog offered $900 million but couldn't top Sony's winning bid.

The outlet reported that the Sony deal is expected to close in "the next few weeks."


Hollywood Records, which is a label of the Disney Music Group, owns the rights to the band's recorded music catalog in the United States and Canada. Hollywood Records acquired Queen's North American catalog after first signing a distribution deal with the band in 1991 for $10 million. 

Under the deal with Sony, DMG will retain the band's North American rights in perpetuity. However, some sizable royalties received by Queen members under the DMG deal will now be paid to Sony. 

Universal Music Group has worldwide licensing rights to Hollywood Records' Queen catalog through an agreement with DMG. According to Hits, those rights will go to Sony once the licensing deal expires in 2026 or 2027.

Representatives for Sony, DMG and Queen did not immediately respond to Fox Business' request for comment.

Sony's billion-dollar acquisition appears to be the most expensive music catalog sale in history, far surpassing the previous record reportedly set by Bruce Springsteen. In 2021, Springsteen sold his recorded music and publishing catalog to Sony Music for a reported $600 million, per Variety.

In 2020, Bob Dylan sold the publishing rights to his entire music catalog for a reported $400 million. Sony Music announced in January 2022 that it had acquired Dylan's recorded music catalog in a deal that sources told Variety was between $150 million to $200 million.

However, the amounts paid for those acquisitions have not been publicly confirmed.

Formed in 1970, Queen, which comprised Mercury as lead singer, May as lead guitarist, Taylor as drummer and John Deacon as bass guitarist, became one of the biggest rock acts in the world and is among the best-selling bands of all time. 

The band has enjoyed enduring popularity with its long list of hits including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Don’t Stop Me Now," "Under Pressure," "Another One Bites the Dust," "We Will Rock You" "Somebody to Love" and "We Are The Champions."

In 2019, Queen's music saw a huge boost in sales and streams after the release of the Academy Award-winning Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody."

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