US private equity group among bidders for Pink Floyd's catalogue worth estimated $500m

British rock band set for major payday amid interest from institutional investors

Members of Pink Floyd in 2005, from left to right; Dave Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. PA
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Classic British rock band Pink Floyd could be set for a windfall with several bidders, including the world's largest private equity firm, vying to buy their entire back catalogue for an estimated $500m.

Reports suggest that Blackstone is one of those looking to bolster its music rights collection by buying the band's song book, and a deal could be weeks away. Other bidders reportedly include Sony, Warner, BMG and Primary Wave.

The Financial Times said the deal includes the copyrights to its song rights and original studio recordings, making it one of the largest deals of its kind.

Blackstone has not commented on the deal, while representatives for Pink Floyd did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pink Floyd, known for its experimental sounds and elaborate live shows, wrote some of the biggest hits of the 1970s and 1980s with songs such as Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb and Another Brick in the Wall.

The band emerged in 1965 during the first wave of British psychedelic music with an original line-up that included Syd Barret, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason.

Since then, the band has sold at least 250 million records and embarked on numerous money-spinning global tours that continued even after the departure of frontman Roger Waters in 1985.

Reports indicate a growing appetite for the song collections of established hit makers in the music industry as revenue from royalties and streaming platforms continues to grow.

In 2020, Universal Music Publishing Group announced that it had bought the publishing rights of Bob Dylan's music in a deal worth a reported nine-figure sum.

A woman is silhouetted at an exhibition of Pink Floyd at the V&A Museum in London. Reuters.

Last year, Bruce Springsteen sold his music from his five-decade career to Sony Entertainment in a deal worth an estimated $550 million, and KKR & Co Inc last year bought a majority stake in OneRepublic artist Ryan Tedder's catalogue, valued at $200 million.

A Pink Floyd deal would further Blackstone's broader push into digital content, with the buyout firm last year agreeing to buy most of Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon's media company, Hello Sunshine.

Blackstone last year took an ownership stake in Hipgnosis as part of a partnership that planned to spend about $1 billion on music rights.

Earlier this year, Pink Floyd released their first new music since 1994 in support of the people of Ukraine with a track called Hey Hey Rise Up.

The song marks the first original music recorded together as a collective since 1994’s The Division Bell and features vocals from Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk, from rock and pop band Boombox.

Updated: August 26, 2022, 6:49 AM