James Sammataro, a partner at Pryor Cashman and co-chair of the firm's Media + Entertainment Group, was recently interviewed by The Wrap. A number of music icons, including Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, and Bob Dylan, have recently moved to sell the rights to their music catalogs. According to The Wrap, "For years, selling your catalog was considered taboo and often done in private; never publicized with headlines featuring giant price tags." The following is an excerpt from The Wrap:
Music lawyer James Sammataro at Pryor Cashman likened it to "Wall Street meets Motown," as companies are recognizing that music assets are underutilized and undervalued by the majors. Sammataro said the industry really started to learn that lesson with Michael Jackson's 1985 purchase of The Beatles' catalog for $47.5 million, something that famously infuriated Paul McCartney and has led to his own decades-long fight to regain control of his songs. Now, there are whole teams of financial analysts and trend watchers trying to identify what other catalogs and publishers are leaving money on the table.
"If we can figure out ways to monetize it, because we are curating it to the point where we're selectively focusing our energy, a really good publishing company knows how to get a return on their investment," Sammataro said. "You have all this data, so you can have a real sense of who's viewing, who's listening. Do we think this listenership is going to dry up? The access of data and the ability to throw it into an algorithm is giving comfort that this is a safer investment. People are almost treating catalogs like they would treat bonds."
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