The Sound Cafe
BMG and KKR Acquire Music Interests of Rock Icons ZZ Top
Global music company BMG and global investment firm KKR today announced that they have acquired the entire music interests of American rock icons ZZ Top.
The transaction marks the latest significant music rights deal the two companies have struck together since announcing in March 2021 that they would join forces in the fast-growing market for music IP.
The ZZ Top agreement includes a buyout of the band’s publishing catalogue and their income from recorded royalties and performance royalties. Previously, BMG served as co-publisher and administrator of ZZ Top’s publishing catalog.
In 1971, Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals), Dusty Hill (bass, keys, vocals), and Frank Beard (drums) released their debut album ZZ Top’s First Album. They would go on to release a total of 15 albums throughout the course of their 50 year career including the commercial breakthrough Tres Hombres (1973), Platinum-certified Degüello (1979), Gold-certified El Loco (1981), smash-hit Diamond-certified Eliminator (1983), 5x Platinum-certified Afterburner (1985), and the Platinum-certified Recycler (1990) and Antenna (1994).
Selling over 50 million albums worldwide, ZZ Top have earned four Gold, three Platinum, two multiple-Platinum album certifications, and one Diamond album. Known for their distinctive look and unabashed blues-rock inspired sound, the success of the group was driven by six #1 Rock singles and eight Top 40 hits including rock music staples ‘La Grange,’ ‘Tush,’ ‘Cheap Sunglasses,’ ‘Gimme All Your Lovin,’’ ‘Legs,’ ‘Got Me Under Pressure,’ and ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ among many others.
In 2004, the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and their recently released documentary That Little Ol’ Band From Texas received a nomination for Best Music Film at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
ZZ Top manager Carl Stubner of Shelter Music Group said, “We are proud to continue working with and expand our long-standing relationship with BMG. This new deal ensures ZZ Top’s remarkable legacy will endure for generations to come.”
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “This deal is a testament to the success, staying power and continuing musical relevance of ZZ Top, but also to the power of our partnership with KKR. This agreement furthers our vision of providing artists and songwriters not just a financial exit, but also a vehicle committed to respecting and treasuring their artistry.”
Jenny Box, Partner at KKR, said, “We are excited to invest in ZZ Top’s iconic music and we look forward to collaborating with BMG and ZZ Top to further amplify the reach of their catalogue.”
KKR is investing in the catalogue through its private credit investment funds and vehicles and will own its interest in the music through its recently launched Chord Music Partners platform. Latham & Watkins LLP served as advisor to KKR on the transaction. Founded in 2008, BMG is both record label and music publisher in one, the first new global player in the music business of the streaming age. Named in 2020 one of the world’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, BMG’s pitch is unique – a relentless focus on fairness and transparency and service to its artist and songwriter clients. BMG’s 19 offices across 12 core music markets now represent over 3m songs and recordings, and thousands of artists and songwriters attracted by its fresh approach which now includes production music, film and books as well as music publishing and recordings KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management and capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. Website: www.zztop.com