Metallica is getting into the intellectual property business in a potentially big way.
The band, its longtime co-manager Cliff Burnstein and several other heavy-hitting investors with backgrounds in the music and finance worlds are partnering up in a venture called Worldwired Music IP Fund.
The fund is to be headed by former Morgan Stanley investment banker Paul Donahue. It also includes former Fender president Matt Janopaul and former Sony/ATV co-president Rick Krim.
Intellectual property can be expensive to acquire but it also can be extremely profitable, especially in the long term.
Licensing music to be utilized in films and commercials isn't cheap. In addition to fees IP owners can command for use of their property, they also profit from sales/streams of material they own.
The IP rights are commonly associated with music, but could also include films, television shows, literature or other content.
Metallica wouldn't be the only major artist to own music by its contemporaries.
In 1985, Michael Jackson famously bought the 4,000 Sony/ATV catalog for $47.5 million. The move is considered the smartest financial move of the King of Pop's life because the catalog included 250 Beatles songs, as well as music by The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and Bruce Springsteen among other artists.
Additionally, several classic rockers have made news in recent years by selling off their music publishing rights.
Dee Snider sold his rights to Twisted Sister's catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group in 2015. Snider later told Q104.3 New York that the deal saved him in income taxes and earned him "a lot of money" up front, which he could use for retirement.
Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton sold his music publishing rights in 2018 to Primary Wave Music Publishing. Hamilton has writing credits and publishing rights to some of Aerosmith's biggest hits, like "Walk This Way," "Dream On," "Sweet Emotion," "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," "Dude" and others.
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