John Legend Joins the Growing Ranks of Musicians Who Have Sold Their Catalogs

John Legend has joined the ranks of music superstars who are opting to sell their music catalog in lieu of holding on to the possibility of future payouts and maximum creative control.

Legend is the latest big-selling musician to turn over his catalog to the highest bidder and joins the likes of Tina Turner, who also had her past 60 years’ worth of hits scooped up by BMG, The-Dream, who unloaded 75 percent of his catalog for a cool $23 million, Smokey Robinson, the estates of Whitney Houston and Ray Charles, and more.

John Legend is cashing in on his back catalog. (Photo: @johnlegend/Instagram)

“Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal,” Turner said of her decision. “I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music, my work is in professional and reliable hands.”

The 12-time Grammy Award-winning singer and “The Voice” coach has sold off his catalog of music dating back to his first album, according to Bloomberg. KKR & Co. and BMG are reportedly the lucky acquirers of the artist’s catalog and the deal includes, “‘all present and future accounts and payment intangibles’ for the right to collect royalties and other income from music he composed or wrote from Dec. 1, 2004, to Jan. 1, 2021, as well as the copyrights to the works,” according to a UCC statement that was filed in November in New York.

While Legend’s specific reasons for making the sale are unknown, artists have been increasingly selling off their catalogs in recent years, which could be attributed to a number of factors, including tax benefits, weighing future benefits, and even the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All of a sudden, the market is crazy, and everybody’s paying ridiculous sums of money — the kind of stuff you never thought you’d see,” music industry professional and educator Serona Elton told NPR. “And people worry it’s a bubble. Maybe it will stay that way. You know, maybe that’s the right time to sell.”

Since the beginning of 2020, musicians including 50 Cent, Nelly, Bruce Springsteen, and many more have sold off all or some of their recording, publishing, and/or copyright rights in favor of a large lump sum.

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