The music rights space has been kicked into action this week with the news that Round Hill Music has acquired a catalog of producer royalties and related rights from legendary rock producer Steve Lillywhite.
The company says that Lillywhite’s production work includes “some of the most successful songs and albums of all time” spanning artists from U2, The Killers and Morrissey, to The Talking Heads and The Rolling Stones.
Round Hill announced the deal this week, just weeks after MBW reported that it had spent more than $200 million across 40 acquisitions in 2022.
Round Hill did not disclose the size of the deal with Lillywhite, although industry sources estimate that, based on the royalties’ annual earnings, the price-tag would likely have been in the region of $10 million.
Lillywhite is widely recognized as one of the most celebrated and successful producers in rock and roll, helping catapult U2 to global success and launching the Dave Mathews Band’s first three albums.
He has contributed to more than 500 records from bands and acts including The Killers, Morrissey, The Talking Heads, Psychedelic Furs, The Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, Counting Crows, Phish and more.
Lillywhite’s career highlights include winning the Grammy for Producer of The Year in 2005 and producing U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album in the same year.
Lillywhite also won Grammys in 2000 and 2001 for his work on U2’s Walk On (Record of the Year) and Beautiful Day (Record of the Year), respectively.
Round Hill’s acquisition of Lillywhite’s producer rights covers the producer’s royalty income to U2’s Boy, October, and War, Dave Matthews Band’s Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, and Before These Crowded Streets, The Rolling Stones’ Dirty Work, Phish’s Billy Breathes, and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ The Scream.
“Steve’s catalog includes royalties to some of the most sought-after songs and albums of all time. We are thrilled to have reached this milestone transaction.”
Josh Gruss, Round Hill Music
“Steve’s catalog includes royalties to some of the most sought-after songs and albums of all time. We are thrilled to have reached this milestone transaction,” said Josh Gruss, Chief Executive Officer of Round Hill Music.
“As someone who grew up idolizing the bands and albums Steve Lillywhite produced, it is an honor to partner with him on this exciting transaction,” adds Gruss.
“I am grateful to have found in Josh Gruss, a kindred spirit who is a pioneer in the music royalty business and the ideal partner for me and my family as I look to my next steps.”
Commenting on the deal, Lillywhite added: “I am grateful to have found in Josh Gruss, a kindred spirit who is a pioneer in the music royalty business and the ideal partner for me and my family as I look to my next steps.”
Lillywhite started his career in the music industry at the age of 16 as a tape operator and a tea boy at then Phonogram Studios in London’s Marble Arch.
“When I started, as a tape op, I used to see these producers who didn’t have that sense of wonder, and I would look at them and think, I’m never going to be like that. And I’ve certainly tried not to be,” Lillywhite told MBW in a 2021 interview.
“This is a vocation for me. And the difference between a job and a vocation, is that you’re allowed to complain about a job. With a vocation, if you complain, you’ve lost the sense of wonder that makes it a vocation in the first place.”
Music Business Worldwide