After months of negotiations, BMG has acquired the entire recorded-music catalog of Mötley Crüe in a deal sources say is valued at approximately $150 million, although other sources cited a significantly lower number.
The agreement includes the iconic band’s entire recorded output spanning their 40-year career totaling nine studio albums from their 1981 debut, “Too Fast for Love,” through the latest release in 2008, “Saints of Los Angeles,” as well as several platinum-selling live albums and compilation sets. Longtime manager Allen Kovac helped the band acquire the catalog from Elektra Records, which signed it in 1982, as part of a contract renegotiation during the 1990s.
There was much behind-the-scenes chatter in the hours after Variety broke news of the deal; while there was a wide discrepancy in the numbers being cited (and some major agendas in play), it’s also possible some of the money was paid upfront, with the remainder being delivered once the group completes its long-delayed North American tour — which is likely to drive up the group’s streaming numbers, from which most of the catalog’s revenue will derive — now scheduled for the summer of 2022.
Mötley Crüe — pictured above L-R, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee — have sold over 100 million albums worldwide, with seven platinum and multi-platinum albums, nine top 10 albums, three Grammy nominations and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The band’s catalog has been revitalized since the 2019 Netflix biopic “The Dirt” introduced it to a new generation of fans. Sources say the deal was originally expected to go to Merck Mercuriadis’ Hipgnosis Songs, which has acquired many of the group’s publishing rights from Sixx, its main songwriter.
The band released a statement that reads, “It feels amazing to be collaborating with our new partners at BMG. Their extensive track record of success in rock made them the perfect home to continue preserving and growing our musical legacy, ensuring we always stay at the top.”
Kovac added, “After working side by side with BMG for well over a decade, the relationship we have developed and success we’ve accomplished over the years made this a very easy transition to entrust with this treasured rock catalog. Working with BMG in any capacity, whether that’s publishing or records, has always been a great experience.”
Said BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch, “This is more than just a significant transaction. It’s a new chapter for an extraordinary catalog. Few bands understand the myth and the magic of rock like Mötley Crüe do. In an increasingly competitive rights acquisition market, artists need to be convinced that a buyer will do the right thing with their work. I am delighted that Mötley Crüe have decided BMG will be the best custodians of their musical career.”
In June 2022, the group will kick off their long-postponed 30+ date headlining U.S. stadium tour with Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The tour will be the Crue’s first since the band’s 2014-2015 “farewell” tour, which grossed more than $86 million.
Mötley Crüe and managers Allen Kovac and Chris Nilsson of 10th Street Entertainment were advised in the transaction by Tim Mandelbaum, Cynthia Katz and the law firm of Fox Rothschild.
BMG currently represents or owns rights in many of hard rock’s most elite and ground-breaking artists including Black Sabbath, Dio, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Scorpions, Uriah Heep and many of the artists who reflect their legacy, including Godsmack, Slash, and Bring Me the Horizon.
BMG Senior VP of Catalog Recordings Michael Kachko said, “Mötley Crüe stand among the pantheon of rock legends, the band’s legacy is tremendous and their fans avid. You can be sure that we will lavish all the respect and love for the music that BMG is recognized for to deliver current and future fans the best experience we can.”
The label’s president of repertoir & marketing, Thomas Scherer, added, “With expert management at the helm, Mötley Crüe have long owned their own recordings. It is an honor and a privilege for BMG to be entrusted with this catalog. They are the perfect fit for our global digital and physical expertise in rock.”
Additional reporting by Jem Aswad.