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Queen sell song catalogue to Sony for record breaking £1 billion

It's said to be the biggest deal of its kind ever recorded.

By Nick Reilly

Queen (Picture: Press)

Queen have reportedly reached a deal with Sony Music for the acquisition of their music catalogue.

According to Variety, Sony has begun the process of acquiring Queen’s storied back catalogue, alongside merchandise and a selection of other business deals. The only part of the band’s revenue that they will retain will be from live performances.

According to the report, the deal has been set at USD$1.27billion (£1billion), which makes it the biggest ever. In comparison, Bruce Springsteen sold his back catalogue to Sony for an estimated $500 million (£393 million) in 2021, while the label also secured Bob Dylan’s back catalogue in 2022.

The specific logistics of the deal also remain unclear, as Disney currently owns the band’s rights in the US and Canada as a result of a deal secured in the 1990s, while Universal Music Group will continue to act as Queen’s worldwide distributor until a long-running deal expires in the coming years.

Queen’s Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon and the estate of the late Freddie Mercury are all equal shareholders in Queen Productions Ltd and recorded eye-watering revenues of $52 million (£40.8 million) in 2022.

Last year, the piano Freddie Mercury used to compose ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ also sold for $2.2 million (£1.7 million) as part of Sotheby’s 1,500-piece estate sale of the singer’s treasured possessions.

The sale of Mercury’s 1973 Yamaha Grand surpassed the $2.1 million paid for John Lennon’s Steinway, which he used to write ‘Imagine’ and was swooped up in 2000 by George Michael, according to the Wall Street Journal.

His collection, which Mercury once described as “exquisite clutter,” included handwritten lyrics for Queen’s operatic anthem that sold for $1.7 million. Notably, the 15 pages of lyrics — written on stationary for a defunct airline — reveal that the song was nearly titled “Mongolian Rhapsody” before the singer crossed it out and replaced it with the similarly syllabic “Bohemian.”