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Dr. Dre Nearing Deal to Sell Music Rights

The hip-hop mogul is reportedly closing a $200 million deal to sell assets to Shamrock Capital and Universal Music Group

Ethan Millman Jan 13, 2023

Dr. Dre performs at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. KEVIN C. COX/GETTY IMAGES

Dr. Dre is nearing a deal to sell a collection of music assets to Universal Music Group and Shamrock Holdings, Variety and Billboard reportmarking yet another major music sale and one of the highest profile hip-hop music asset deals to date since the start of the catalog acquisition boom.

The deal, according to reports, is comprised mainly of passive revenue streams rather than the masters and publishing rights, though Dre appears to be selling some copyrights as well. Shamrock is expected to purchase Dre’s producer and artist royalties from some of both his solo and N.W.A works as well as his writer’s share. Universal Music Group, meanwhile, would be set to buy the master recording of The Chronic, along with Dre’s share of the joint venture between Aftermath/Interscope and Top Dawg Entertainment for Kendrick Lamar releases.

The reports note that the assets were originally being shopped for around $250 million, but as per Billboard, it’s estimated that the assets are expected to sell for about $200 million. One source close to the situation tells Rolling Stone, however, that that figure understates the deal by tens of millions of dollars.

Dr. Dre is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, both as a member of N.W.A and solo artist as well as a celebrated producer for swaths of hip-hop artists including Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 2pac and 50 Cent. UMG, the world’s largest record company, has an extensive history with Dre as the owner of Interscope, which distributes Dre’s Aftermath label. Shamrock, the Roy Disney estate-owned investment firm, bought the rights to Taylor Swift’s Big Machine discography from Scooter Braun in 2020.

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Dre is one of many recording artists, producers and songwriters who’ve sold rights to their music over the past several years. Major legacy rock acts like Bob Dylan, Tina Turner and Bruce Springsteen — along with more contemporary pop artists including Ryan Tedder and Justin Timberlake — have sold their masters or publishing catalogs to major labels, private investors and smaller publishers for a major payday rather than betting on their future royalties. 

From Rolling Stone US.


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