Dr. Dre is reportedly close to selling some of his music assets in two separate deals, with Shamrock Holdings and Universal Music Group, for upwards of $200 million.
The assets include a bundle of music income streams and some other catalog assets that generate almost $10 million in annual income, according to a report from Billboard on Wednesday (January 11).
Citing sources, Billboard reports that Dr. Dre is selling his artist royalties from two of his solo albums and his artist royalties from hip hop group N.W.A., which he formed with Ice Cube, Arabian Prince and Eazy-E in 1987.
He is also selling his producer royalties, his writer’s share of his song catalog that he doesn’t own publishing rights to, such as his share of songs on his The Chronic (1992) album, published by Sony Music Publishing, Billboard added.
Shamrock is reportedly poised to acquire 75% to 90% of those assets. The investment firm is best known for acquiring ownership of the master recordings of Taylor Swift’s first six studio albums from Big Machine Records in November 2020 for over $300 million.
Meanwhile, Universal Music will buy the remaining 10% to 25% of income generated by Dr. Dre’s catalog assets, according to Billboard.
UMG is also reportedly picking up the ownership of the master recording of Dr. Dre’s first solo album, The Chronic. The master recording ownership of that album is set to return to Dr. Dre in August from Death Row Entertainment.
Sources told Billboard that although the sellers were hoping to raise $250 million from the sale, the combined payments likely fell short, bringing the deal value to just north of $200 million.
A source close to Dr. Dre reportedly confirmed the deal to Variety, revealing that the final sale price is likely to be below the $250 million asking price, but still over $200 million.
Both Billboard and Variety reported that the deals were shopped by Dr. Dre’s longtime attorney Peter Paterno of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano.
The acquisition by UMG would bolster its relationship with Dr. Dre. The rapper co-owns Aftermath Entertainment, a joint venture with Interscope Records, which in turn is owned by UMG. Dr. Dre has also been with Interscope for most of his solo career.
Through Aftermath, Dr. Dre signed Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak and Silk Sonic. The label’s former acts include 50 Cent, The Game and Busta Rhymes.
Dr. Dre is among the most influential hip-hop stars of all time. His debut studio album, The Chronic, was among the albums that have been archived in the Library of Congress in 2000 alongside Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis, Tina Turner’s Private Dancer and Selena’s Ven Conmigo.
“The Chronic is considered one of the most important and influential albums of the 1990s and is regarded by many fans and peers to be the most well-produced hip-hop album of all time,” the National Recording Registry said.
Dr. Dre began his career with World Class Wreckin’ Cru in 1985 before forming N.W.A.
Throughout his career, Dr. Dre has worked with some of the most popular R&B and hip-hop acts including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar. The six performed together for Pepsi’s Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show last year.
Aside from establishing his own label, Dr. Dre also formed Audio brand Beats Electronics with his partner, Jimmy Iovine in 2006. The brand was later acquired by Apple Inc. for $3 billion.
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