Pink Floyd’s $500m catalog auction delayed due to band ‘infighting’ (report)

The sale of Pink Floyd’s music catalog, which reportedly could fetch about $500 million and is touted as one of the biggest music rights deals in history, is still hanging in the balance as the band’s members fail to reach an agreement over taxes, assets and bassist Roger Waters’ views on Ukraine.

That’s according to the Financial Times, which, citing several people involved in negotiations, reports that the auction process is still in limbo about five months since it started, with the members of the British band butting heads over the tax structure of the deal.

Since the sale process started, reports have suggested that the catalog has attracted interest from potential buyers like Sony Music Group, Warner Music Group, BMG, Hipgnosis, Concord, Primary Wave, and private equity group Blackstone.

Last month, industry sources told Music Business Worldwide founder, Tim Ingham, that Floyd’s team is looking for over GBP £420 million ($467 million) for the catalog, including recorded music rights but NOT music publishing rights.

MBW noted that three of the reported buyers have an existing business relationship with the band including Sony, which distributes the Floyd catalog in the US; Warner, which has a similar relationship with the band in Europe and other territories; and BMG, Roger Waters’ publisher.

However, a deal still has yet to materialize due to strained relations between Waters and Dave Gilmour, sources told the FT. Waters is based in the US, while the other band members are in the UK, making negotiations even more complex.

One of the bidders reportedly said that the strained relationship had “made it impossible” to pursue a transaction, while another bidder said they may never be able to close a deal even if a buyer was chosen as the band “never need an excuse to disagree,” the FT reported.

But some sources with knowledge of the details reportedly said that bidders still hoped to reach an agreement in the coming weeks as talks remain active.

Some of the bidders involved also noted that Waters’ controversial comments about being on a Ukrainian “kill list” further weighed on the talks.

In an interview with Rolling Stone last week, 79-year-old Waters called the Ukraine conflict “an unnecessary war.”

“Russia should not have been encouraged to invade the Ukraine after they tried for 20 years to avoid it by suggesting diplomatic measures to Western governments,” Waters told Rolling Stone.

Waters’ comments came after Pink Floyd members Gilmour and Nick Mason earlier this year released a song to support Ukraine, pledging to direct proceeds to Ukrainian humanitarian relief.

The band’s reported infighting is potentially stalling what could be one of the biggest catalog deals in history following the sale of Bruce Springsteen’s music in a reported $550 million plus deal, and the sale of Bob Dylan’s recorded music catalog worth about $150 million. Both catalogs were acquired by Sony Music.

These major deals and the attractiveness of the song catalogs of legendary musicians come at a time when old songs start to gain more popularity over new music.

In the US alone, consumption of ‘Current’ recorded music in the first half of 2022 fell 1.4% in volume terms year over year, according to a midyear report published by US market monitor Luminate (formerly MRC Data / Nielsen Music).

Pink Floyd is among the legendary bands that remain popular to this date, attracting 15.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

But a deal for Pink Floyd’s music library remains uncertain until the band’s members are able to reach an agreement. Other hurdles that the deal could face include tax implications as the members are based in different locations and whether the buyer would acquire the catalog in US dollar or the British pound.Music Business Worldwide