There comes a time in every huge band’s/artist’s life when they have to decide to hold onto the songs that made them famous or let those songs go and get a hefty check for them. That’s pretty much what Pink Floyd are doing behind the scenes.
While there’s been no official word, legendary British rockers Pink Floyd have been shopping their recorded-music catalog and other assets for several months, seeking as much as $500 million, according to the Financial Times, with both major music companies and investment firms as the top bidders. Sources say an explosive new interview with founding member, main songwriter and stakeholder Roger Waters — in which he makes extensive remarks about Israel, Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and other political matters that one could politely characterize as controversial — is giving at least one potential buyer cold feet and seems likely to lead others to rethink their positions.
On a business level, the Pink Floyd recorded-music catalog is one of the most valuable in contemporary music, with classic albums like “Dark Side of the Moon,” “The Wall,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Animals,” “Meddle,” “Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” “More” and more. After the sales of catalogs by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen (both for around $600 million), Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, James Brown (all around the low nine figures) and many others, it is one of the most lucrative and desirable known to be on the market. (Song publishing is not included in the prospective Pink Floyd deal.)
The biggest issue with this deal have been comments made by Roger Waters. Roger Waters has went on record saying some incredibly awful things about Jewish people as well as Israelis. Certainly, this will not sit well with anyone of those backgrounds who may be working with large companies.
The principals — Waters, Nick Mason, David Gilmour and the estate of late keyboardist Rick Wright — are all in their late 70s and presumably thinking about estate planning, but sources say various considerations, including tax issues, rising interest rates, the sinking value of the British pound, global recession concerns and the prospect of getting an even bigger price, have delayed the process.
In the past, prospective buyers — which FT said include Sony Music, Warner Music, BMG, Primary Wave and Blackstone-backed songs — presumably either overlooked or dismissed Waters’ comments while focusing on the prospect of owning the recorded-music rights to songs like “Money,” “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2,” “Wish You Were Here” and dozens more. (Reps for those companies either declined or did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.) But it’s hard to imagine that Waters’ comments will not alienate if not eliminate some prospective buyers — sources say at least one may pull out because of them — and at the very least, it would certainly seem to lower the value of the catalog.
“The other bandmembers must be furious,” one source says.