Violinist Joshua Bell has joined a growing list of musical artists to sell catalog rights, under a deal announced today.
Bob Dylan sold the rights to his songwriting catalog for a reported $300 million last year, sparking a rush for catalog deals as artists look to cash in now rather than wait decades to collect future royalty earnings. Bell's deal is with ICM Crescendo Music Royalty Fund, which is buying not just rights to an entire catalog, but also rights to select songs or performances or a portion of those rights or even other revenue streams.
What ICM Crescendo bought from Bell was not disclosed, nor was a purchase price.
"We are interested in music creators in virtually every genre and level in the global music industry," said David Vankka, the fund's lead portfolio manager and a partner with ICM Asset Management.
Bell is a client of Park Avenue Artists, a New York-based artist management and production company that has partnered with ICM Crescendo to identify clients whose portfolios could provide opportunities for investors.
"ICM Crescendo recognizes the potent long-term earning power of credible artists like Joshua who is interested in deploying capital to branch out into other business verticals," said Ross Michaels, Co-President of Park Avenue Artists. "Our work with David and his team on their Joshua Bell royalty acquisition has shown us firsthand how simple and powerful their business model is to empower music creators to unlock value in their catalogs.
"The flexibility that is given to an artist like Joshua to evaluate a partnership via revenue streams is a distinguishing factor from the rigid and one-size-fits-all catalog acquisitions many people are seeing in this space currently. Proud to say we at Park Avenue Artists have developed artists who have, and will, stand the test of time and these are the types of artists we will be targeting for the fund."
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I think it's smart. Josh Bell is a superstar today. But how many dead violinists enjoy sales of their recordings 10+ years after they're gone? Maybe ten? People tend to buy the recordings of current stars -- folks they might also see in concert. When I was a kid I remember looking for Isaac Stern first when I wanted an LP of a piece I was working on -- his was a household name, just like Bell's is today. Now that Stern's been dead 20 years, does anyone buy his recordings any more? Artists need to figure out how to extract the most out of their IP while they're alive and even while still in their prime.
Paul - I agree with your last sentence and your observation about which violinists sell but wonder about why. I suspect in the last 20 years of Stern's life, he did not sell much. I suspect that is true of a lot of top-tier violinists during their lives. Most of them go through a period where they sell a lot and then other, younger violinists come up with new takes on pieces or very good recordings and supplant the others. I have recordings by Stern of Bach's concerti. They are wonderful, but most younger folks would consider them dated(?) in light of more recent takes on these concerti. Same with many of Oistrakh's recordings that I own. So, I agree that the musicians should seek to get the most out of their talents while they can.
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October 28, 2021 at 09:32 PM · Getting in on the NFT game, eh Joshua?