List of largest music deals

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Clockwise from top left: Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Madonna. Four of the artists who have had the largest recording contracts up to one point.[a]

The following is a list of the largest music deals in history signed by artists, including recording contracts and multi-rights agreements with over $50 million, as well catalog acquisitions with a reported sum of over $150 million.[b] Some figures might not be entirely accurate, as some multi-million-dollar contracts were reportedly misrepresented or exaggerated,[1][2][3] and many were just media estimations. Therefore, no rankings are given.

An early recorded five-figure deal in music history was reported by The Music Trades magazine in the late 1910s, made by American composer John Stepan Zamecnik.[4] The 1960s saw contracts with six-figures such as an advance deal for $143,000 to Led Zeppelin (Atlantic Records) in 1968, then the biggest deal of its kind for a new band.[5] The 1970s saw a rise in millionaire recording contracts, starting with a deal made by The Rolling Stones in 1971, which represented "a new benchmark in industry contracts", according to Billboard, and became the largest contract ever made by that point.[6] In a short span of years, Neil Diamond signed a $4–5 million deal with Columbia Records, which was later superseded by Paul McCartney's Capitol Records and Elton John's MCA Records deals of $8 million each, as well as Stevie Wonder's 1975 deal with Motown valued at $13 million,[c] reaching a new peak in the industry.[8][9] The 1980s saw more contracts of eight figures, including record-breaking Diana Ross's $20 million contract with RCA Records in 1980,[10] or the Rolling Stones with CBS Records for $28 million in 1983.[11] An increase of blockbuster deals began in the 1990s, with top-signing artists such as Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince each exceeding the $40–60 million marks,[12][13] making multiple appearances in the Guinness World Records.[14] Up until 2016, only a few recording and multi-rights contracts outpaced the $100 million mark.[15] The largest music deals belong to catalog acquisitions which include songwriting and publishing rights, with an increase in the late 2010s and early 2020s.[16][17] The Estate of Michael Jackson made the largest posthumous deals, followed by David Bowie.

Multi-million-sized music deals have often raised skepticism and been criticized in corporate terms for bi-directional disadvantages,[18][19][15][20][21][22] including Prince's 1992 contract with Warner Bros deriving a contractual dispute.[18] Referred by a contributor from Forbes to as "the best-known and most-cited example" among misadventured contracts,[15] Mariah Carey's 2001 deal with Virgin Records marked "the first time that a major music corporation decided to cut its losses on a superstar agreement", according to The New York Times.[23]

List of largest recording contracts and multi-right deals[edit]

Year Artist Music company Approx deal Notes Ref.
2008 Jay-Z Live Nation $150 million [24]
2002 Robbie Williams EMI Records $125 million Labeled as the largest British record deal in history. [25]
2007 Madonna Live Nation $120 million Labeled as the largest contract deal in history by a female artist. [26][22][27]
1995 Michael Jackson Sony Music $100 Million [28]
2001 Whitney Houston Arista Records $100 million Considered the largest contract in music at that point. [29]
2001 Mariah Carey Virgin Records $100–80 million Considered the largest contract in music at that point. [23][21][29]
2008 Shakira Live Nation $100–70 million [30][31]
1996 R.E.M. Warner Records $80 million Considered the largest contract made by a band and in music industry at that time. [32][12]
1996 Janet Jackson Virgin Records $80–70 million Considered the largest contract in music at that point. [33][12]
2008 Nickelback Live Nation $70–50 million [34]
1991 Michael Jackson Sony Music $65–60–50 million[d] Considered the largest contract in music at that point. [12][39][13][40]
1991 Paul McCartney Capitol Records $65 million [14]
1992 Madonna Warner Records $60 million Considered the largest contract in music for a female pop entertainer at that time. [12][13][41]
1992 Barbra Streisand Columbia Records $60–40 million [12][14]
1995 Metallica Elektra Records $60 million [12]
1999 Backstreet Boys Jive Records $60 million [42]
2022 NBA YoungBoy Atlantic Records $60 million [43]
1998 U2 PolyGram $50 million [44]
1991 Janet Jackson Virgin Records $50–40–32 million Considered the largest contract in music at that point. [45][46][47]

Media estimations/expectatives[edit]

The following are contracts confirmed artists signed with respective record labels, but sums are largely based on media speculations.

Year Artist Music company Approx deal Notes Ref.
2022 Drake Universal Music Group $400 million [48]
1993 U2 Island Records $200 million [2]
2012 Lil Wayne Cash Money Records $150 million [49]
2016 Adele Columbia Records $130 million Originally reported by British tabloid The Sun, but reported by others as an undisclosed amount. [15][50][51]
1992 Prince Warner Bros $100 million Undisclosed price.[2] [18]
2016 Harry Styles Columbia Records $80 million Sum not confirmed. [52]

List of largest music catalog acquisitions[edit]

Year Artist Purchaser company Approx deal Notes Ref.
2021 Bruce Springsteen Sony Music $550–500 million Considered the biggest transaction ever struck for a single artist's body of work. [53][54]
2020 Bob Dylan Universal Music Group $400–300 million Undisclosed price. It is a songwriting catalog agreement. [55][56]
2022 Phil Collins
Genesis
Concord Music Group $300 million [56]
2021 Sting Universal Music Publishing Group $300 million [56]
2021 Paul Simon Sony Music Publishing $250 million [57]
2023 Katy Perry Litmus Music $225 million [58]
2023 Justin Bieber Hipgnosis Songs Fund $200 million [57]
2021 Neil Young Hipgnosis Songs Fund $150 million [56]
2022 Bob Dylan Sony Music $150 million Catalog agreement. [56]

Posthumous[edit]

Year Artist Purchaser company Approx deal Ref.
2016 Michael Jackson (Estate) Sony Music Publishing $750 million [59]
2018 Michael Jackson (Estate) Sony $287 million [60]
2017 Michael Jackson (Estate) Sony $250 million [61]
2010 Michael Jackson (Estate) Sony $250 million [62]
2022 David Bowie Warner Chappell Music $250 million [56]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Due to high undisclosed reports as well varying estimated figures in certain cases, claims are taken by media
  2. ^ The list excludes sponsorship deals, broadcasting rights, assets, or other business ventures made by recording artists with enterprises outside of the industry
  3. ^ Also reported for an amount of $37 million.[7]
  4. ^ Michael Jackson's 1991 deal with Sony largely vary by estimations. Established figures ranged from $50 million to 60 million and even $65 million. Originally, the deal was even also estimated at $1 billion by early media speculations.[35][36][37][38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Haring, Bruce (June 3, 1993). "U2 inks 6-album deal with Island Records". Variety. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c EW Staff (June 25, 1993). "The Money Tree". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  3. ^ Buckley, David (2002). R.E.M.: Fiction: An Alternative Biography. Virgin. p. 177. ISBN 1-85227-927-3.
  4. ^ "Zamecnik Renewe With Fox". The Music Trades. August 2, 1919. p. 45. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  5. ^ Wall, Mick (2010). When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin. Macmillan Publishers. p. 84. Retrieved September 6, 2023.
  6. ^ "Ahmet Ertegun Interview". Billboard. Vol. 112, no. 3. January 17, 1998. p. A-56. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  7. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (September 10, 2022). "The Treat: Writer-musician Nabil Ayers on Stevie Wonder's 'Songs in the Key of Life'". KCRW. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  8. ^ Kirsch, Bob (August 16, 1975). "Pricing Tops List of Racker's Beefs". Billboard. Vol. 87, no. 33. p. 1. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  9. ^ Freedland, Nat (August 31, 1974). "The Russ Regan Story". Billboard. Vol. 86, no. 35. p. TC-4. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  10. ^ "Ebony Interview with Diana Ross". Ebony. Vol. 37, no. 1. November 1981. p. 39. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  11. ^ "Stones' $28 million deal richest in recording history". UPI. August 26, 1983. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Philips, Chuck (August 25, 1996). "R.E.M., Warner Records Sign $80-Million Deal". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 4, 2023. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  13. ^ a b c Knight Ridder (April 21, 1992). "Madonna signs deal 'dramatically greater' than $60 million". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  14. ^ a b c Matthews, Peter; McWhirter, Norris D. (1994). Largest contrats. The Guinness Book of Records. p. 162. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  15. ^ a b c d McIntyre, Hugh (May 24, 2016). "$100 Million Record Deals For Music's Superstars: Are They A Good Investment?". Forbes. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  16. ^ Graff, Gary (December 2, 2022). "Why Musical Artists Are Selling Their Catalog Rights". Loudwire. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  17. ^ Ingham, Tim; Wang, Amy X (January 15, 2021). "Why Superstar Artists Are Clamoring to Sell Their Music Rights". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  18. ^ a b c Savage, Mark (March 3, 2020). "From Prince to Megan Thee Stallion: When record contracts go wrong". BBC. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  19. ^ Holden, Stephen (April 20, 1992). "Madonna Makes a $60 Million Deal". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 17, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  20. ^ Susman, Gary (October 3, 2002). "Who just signed the biggest deal in pop history?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  21. ^ a b Cochrane, Naima (May 9, 2021). "The Year the Bubble Burst: How 2001 Mega Contracts For Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey Signaled a Shift in the Music Business". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 4, 2023. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  22. ^ a b Waddell, Ray (October 16, 2007). "Update: Madonna Confirms Deal With Live Nation". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  23. ^ a b James, Barry (January 24, 2002). "Mariah Gets Scratched, but With a Glittering Buyout From EMI". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  24. ^ Rys, Dan (May 21, 2017). "Jay Z, Live Nation Enter Into New Long Term Deal, Continue Roc Nation Partnership: Exclusive". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 4, 2023. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  25. ^ "Williams' $125 million deal sets record in Britain". Houston Chronicle. October 3, 2002. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  26. ^ Waddell, Ray (September 2, 2009). "Madonna To Set Record With Sticky & Sweet Tour". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  27. ^ "Líneas de ropa y cosméticos, gimnasios, marcas audiovisuales... repasamos la carrera empresarial de Madonna" (in Spanish). LaSexta. August 15, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  28. ^ Sisario, Ben (March 15, 2016). "Sony to Pay Michael Jackson's Estate $750 Million for Stake in Music Catalog". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 27, 2023. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  29. ^ a b Billboard Staff (August 3, 2001). "Whitney Houston Inks $100 Million Arista Deal". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  30. ^ "Shakira Leaves Epic, Signs Massive Live Nation Deal". Rolling Stone. July 3, 2009. Archived from the original on September 4, 2023. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  31. ^ The Hollywood Reporter (May 7, 2012). "Shakira Nears $30 Million Deal With Live Nation, Sony: Report". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2023.
  32. ^ Hochman, David (September 13, 1996). "Warner Bros. Records re-sign R.E.M. for $80 million". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  33. ^ MTV News Staff (January 12, 1996). "Janet Signs Biggest Deal;So There, Mr. "King Of Pop"". MTV. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  34. ^ Adegoke, Yinka (July 8, 2008). "UPDATE 1-Nickelback joins Live Nation in global deal". Reuters. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  35. ^ Harrington, Richard (March 21, 1991). "Michael Jackson's Thriller". Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  36. ^ McNary, Dave (March 21, 1991). "Michael Jackson re-signs with Sony - UPI Archives". UPI. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  37. ^ Rothenberg, Randall (March 21, 1991). "Michael Jackson Gets Thriller of Deal To Stay With Sony". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  38. ^ "Michael Jackson, A Division Of Sony". Bloomberg News. March 31, 1991. Archived from the original on September 27, 2023. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  39. ^ "Prince signs $100-million deal". Tampa Bay Times. September 4, 1992. Archived from the original on September 5, 2023. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  40. ^ "Aerosmith to Sign Monster Sony Pac". Los Angeles Times. August 14, 1991. Archived from the original on September 5, 2023. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  41. ^ Palmer, Landon (2020). Rock Star/Movie Star. Oxford University Press. p. 203. Retrieved September 6, 2023.
  42. ^ MTV News Staff (November 16, 1999). "Backstreet Boys Sign $60 Million Contract". MTV. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  43. ^ "NBA YoungBoy Reveals He Signed $60 Million Record Deal". Rap-Up. August 1, 2022. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  44. ^ MTV News Staff (September 8, 1998). "U2 Signs Pricey Deal For Best Of Albums". MTV. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  45. ^ Banks, Jack (2018). "Monopoly Television: Mtv's Quest To Control The Music". Taylor & Francis. p. 148. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  46. ^ Kennedy, Dana (January 12, 1996). "Janet's Deal of the Decade". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  47. ^ "Janet Jackson Inks Record $50 Mil. Deal With Virgin Records". Jet. March 25, 1991. p. 60. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  48. ^ Halperin, Shirley (May 3, 2022). "Drake Strikes Massive, Multi-Faceted Deal With Universal Music Group". Variety. Retrieved September 6, 2023.
  49. ^ Savage, Mark (May 3, 2012). "Lil Wayne signed $150 million deal?". Stuff. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  50. ^ "Adele Signs $130 Million Sony Deal". Hypebot. May 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  51. ^ Ahmed, Tufayel (May 23, 2016). "Is Adele About to Sign a £90 Million Record Deal?". Newsweek. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  52. ^ "Harry Styles reportedly signs $80 million record deal". RTÉ. July 1, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  53. ^ Sisario, Ben (December 15, 2021). "Bruce Springsteen Sells Music Catalog in Massive Deal". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 16, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  54. ^ Roberts, Randall (December 26, 2021). "Bruce Springsteen sells music catalog to Sony in record-breaking, $500-million deal". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 16, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  55. ^ Sisario, Ben (December 7, 2020). "Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog in Blockbuster Deal". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  56. ^ a b c d e f Dellatto, Marisa (September 29, 2022). "Phil Collins And Genesis Sell Music Rights For Reported $300 Million: Here's How That Compares With Other Rock Icons". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 5, 2023. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  57. ^ a b Walfisz, Jonny (January 26, 2023). "Justin Bieber sells music catalogue for $200 million: How does his deal compare to other artists?". Euronews. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  58. ^ Aswad, Jem (September 18, 2023). "Katy Perry Sells Catalog Rights to Litmus Music for $225 Million". Variety. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  59. ^ Christman, Ed (September 30, 2016). "Sony Finalizes Acquisition of Michael Jackson Estate's Stake in Sony/ATV Publishing". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 5, 2023. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  60. ^ Halperin, Shirley (July 31, 2018). "Sony Buys Out Michael Jackson Estate's Remaining Stake in EMI Music Publishing". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  61. ^ Variety Staff (December 14, 2017). "Michael Jackson Estate and Sony Extend Recorded-Music Deal". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  62. ^ Smith, Ethan (March 16, 2010). "Sony Places Big Bet on a Fallen 'King'". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 29, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2023.

External links[edit]