Rap record label auctioned off for $18 million

Wide Awake Entertainment, a label less than a year old and with the release of just one recording to its credit, was given the right to purchase Death Row Records for $18 million on Thursday.

The assets, which include recordings by Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg, were auctioned in Los Angeles as part of a Chapter 11 proceeding after a previous winning bidder failed to secure financing.

Global Music had agreed to buy the label last summer, but infighting among investors led a splinter group using a similar name to contend that it was the winning bidder. Neither group was able to secure the $25 million needed to seal the deal.

Death Row initially filed for Chapter 11 protection in April 2006. That July, the California judge overseeing the filing ordered a bankruptcy trustee to take over the label. In early 2007, it appeared the label would go to Warner Music Group and then to Koch, but both labels pulled out.

Included in the Death Row catalog are Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” Shakur’s “All Eyez on Me” and Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle.” Wide Awake’s lone release is by Toronto-based R&B singer Sean Jones.

Determining Death Row’s value has been difficult over the years, and some industry observers contend its value is less than $5 million.

Items owned by Death Row Records, such as the company’s electric chair, Suge Knight’s cigars and engraved cases and Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s Source Awards, will be auctioned Jan. 25 in Fullerton.

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