BMG and KKR have put their recently announced partnership to work, acquiring the “entire music interests” of long-running American rock band ZZ Top for a sum sources place at around $50 million.
The agreement includes a buyout of the band’s publishing catalogue and their income from recorded royalties and performance royalties. Previously, BMG served as co-publisher and administrator of ZZ Top’s publishing catalog.
The band — Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals), Frank Beard (drums) and the late Dusty Hill (bass, keyboards, vocals) — released their debut album in 1971 and released 14 more over the course of their 50-year career, including “Fandango” (featuring their first hit single, “Tush”) and the video-powered albums that made them one of the biggest rock acts of the ‘80s, “Eliminator” and “Afterburner.” The band has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and has earned four gold, three platinum and three multi-platinum albums; in 2004, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The group went more than 50 years without a lineup change until bassist Dusty Hill died in July at the age of 72. He was replaced for live dates by longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis.
While the two companies announced in March that they would partner up for music IP, they have largely worked separately in the months since, with BMG acquiring catalogs from Tina Turner and Motley Crue, while KKR’s Chord Music acquired a catalog from Kobalt for around $1.1 billion.
ZZ Top manager Carl Stubner of Shelter Music Group said, “We are proud to continue working with and expand our long-standing relationship with BMG. This new deal ensures ZZ Top’s remarkable legacy will endure for generations to come.”
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “This deal is a testament to the success, staying power and continuing musical relevance of ZZ Top, but also to the power of our partnership with KKR. This agreement furthers our vision of providing artists and songwriters not just a financial exit, but also a vehicle committed to respecting and treasuring their artistry.”
Jenny Box, Partner at KKR, said, “We are excited to invest in ZZ Top’s iconic music and we look forward to collaborating with BMG and ZZ Top to further amplify the reach of their catalogue.”
KKR is investing in the catalogue through its private credit investment funds and vehicles and will own its interest in the music through its recently launched Chord Music Partners platform. Latham & Watkins LLP served as advisor to KKR on the transaction.