BMG acquires Paul Simon royalty streams from Simon & Garfunkel recordings in ‘significant transaction’

Credit: Jake Edwards / Paul Simon Music

One of the world’s biggest ever music catalog acquisition deals took place two years ago, when legendary songwriter Paul Simon sold his music publishing catalog to Sony for a price believed to be in the region of USD $250 million-plus.

Today (June 22), we learn that Simon has sold other valuable assets related to his catalog to BMG, for an undisclosed sum.

BMG has acquired Simon’s artist royalty income stream – in addition to his neighboring rights income stream – from Simon & Garfunkel recordings (not including Simon’s solo work).

In other words: BMG will be paid Simon’s artist royalty share whenever Simon & Garfunkel’s classic recordings – which continue to be owned by Columbia/Sony Music – are streamed or purchased.

BMG will also, in future, be paid money previously paid to Simon when Simon & Garfunkel’s recordings are broadcast on TV or radio, or played in public spaces, around the world (aka: neighboring rights).

Simon & Garfunkel’s evergreen tracks include the likes of ‘The Sound Of Silence’, ‘The Boxer’, ‘Mrs Robinson’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.

Their classic albums including Wednesday Morning, 3AM (1964), Sounds Of Silence (1966), Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (1966), Bookends (1968) and Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970).

BMG’s incoming CEO, Thomas Coesfeld, said, “We are delighted to have secured the agreement of Paul Simon for BMG to acquire his royalty interests in Simon & Garfunkel recordings and his neighboring rights income.

“This is a significant transaction. Our ability to secure this deal demonstrates once again that BMG provides the best home for the greatest artists.”

Thomas Scherer, BMG’s President, Repertoire & Marketing, Los Angeles and New York, said, “In any list of the true greats, Paul Simon stands as one of the pillars of popular music history.

“We will play our part to ensure his music continues to be honored and respected.”

Paul Simon was represented in the BMG transaction by Gene Salomon and Don Passman at Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.

“This is a significant transaction. Our ability to secure this deal demonstrates once again that BMG provides the best home for the greatest artists.”

Thomas Coesfeld, BMG

The nature of the assets acquired by BMG in Simon’s recordings (as Simon & Garfunkel) bears some similarity to the assets that BMG previously acquired from Mick Fleetwood, in a 2021 deal that covered Fleetwood’s royalty income stream for his hits in Fleetwood Mac.

In the same year, BMG acquired both the artist royalty income stream and the neighboring rights income stream of the now-sadly-departed Tina Turner, in a deal that additionally included Turner’s music publishing writer’s share plus her name, image, and likeness.

In 2022, BMG concluded more than 45 music rights/asset acquisitions. The firm spent USD $400 million on music rights M&A in that calendar year – more than Universal Music Group spent on catalog acquisitions in the same period.

In 2023 so far, BMG’s deals have included its acquisition of the recordings catalog of The Hollies.

Thanks to other deals over the past two years, BMG owns rights and/or royalties in the work of other artists and/or songwriters including John Legend, Mötley Crüe, ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, Harry Nilsson, John Lee Hooker, Simple Minds, Primal Scream, and Jean-Michel Jarre.Music Business Worldwide