Sony Music to Acquire Queen’s Music Catalog for £1 Billion

by Barbara

Sony Music is in the final stages of acquiring the iconic music catalog of Queen, along with additional rights, for approximately £1 billion (around $1.27 billion), as confirmed by two sources familiar with the matter. The acquisition, first reported by Hits, excludes revenue from live performances, which will continue to be managed by founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who tour actively with singer Adam Lambert.

Another bidder came close with an offer of $900 million but fell short in the competitive bidding process.


Queen’s music catalog is renowned as one of the most valuable in the rock era, featuring timeless classics such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “39,” “Somebody to Love,” and “You’re My Best Friend,” as well as anthemic hits like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” These songs are not only globally popular but also immensely lucrative, with the success of the 2018 biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” highlighting the enduring appeal and commercial potential of the band’s legacy. There are also prospects for a jukebox musical based on Queen’s music, which could debut in London or on Broadway and tour extensively.


The acquisition process for Queen’s catalog has been ongoing for several years, with Sony Music steadily advancing towards a deal in recent months. However, complexities arise from the band’s existing recorded-music rights for the U.S. and Canada, which were acquired by Disney at an undisclosed price in the 2000s, following an initial $10 million licensing deal in 1991. These rights will remain with Disney indefinitely, although certain royalties from these recordings will transition to Sony Music upon completion of the deal. Additionally, Queen’s distribution agreement, currently with Universal, will transfer to Sony Music for all territories outside the U.S. and Canada upon its expiration in 2026 or 2027.


Representatives for Sony Music, Sony Music Publishing, Disney’s Hollywood Records, and Queen declined to comment or did not respond to requests from Variety for comment. Sony Music typically refrains from public statements regarding catalog acquisitions, similar to their handling of previous nine-figure deals such as those for Bruce Springsteen’s publishing and recorded-music rights, and Bob Dylan’s recorded-music rights.

Originally formed in London in 1970 by Brian May and Roger Taylor, along with Freddie Mercury and later John Deacon, Queen initially struggled to secure a record deal before signing with EMI, which released their self-titled debut album in 1973. The band achieved UK chart success with singles like “Seven Seas of Rhye” and “Killer Queen,” but their global breakthrough came with the 1975 release of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a groundbreaking track penned by Freddie Mercury.

Queen quickly rose to global prominence, with each member contributing to multiple chart-topping singles throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Despite their enormous popularity worldwide, particularly in stadium performances, Freddie Mercury’s tragic death from complications related to AIDS in 1991 marked a pivotal moment for the band.

Despite Mercury’s passing, Queen’s legacy has continued to thrive, with their music maintaining widespread radio play and enduring popularity at sporting events. Hits like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” remain fixtures in stadiums worldwide, while Brian May and Roger Taylor, now in their mid-seventies, continue to tour under the Queen name, ensuring the band’s enduring influence on music and culture.

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