Sony Music has reportedly acquired the Queen music catalog, along with various rights, for a whopping 1 billion pounds (around $1.27 billion). The news was first revealed by Hits, who stated that the only revenue not included in the deal is for live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor will retain as they continue to tour with singer Adam Lambert.

Apparently, another player came close to sealing the deal but fell short at $900 million. Queen’s music catalog is widely recognized as one of the most valuable of the rock era, with hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “We Will Rock You” being globally popular and immensely profitable.

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The success of the 2018 biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” has demonstrated the potential for the group’s name and likeness rights, raising the possibility of a jukebox musical opening in London or on Broadway and embarking on an endless tour.

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However, there are some complications with the catalog. The group’s recorded-music rights for the United States and Canada were acquired by Disney for an undisclosed sum at some point in the 2000s. Although these rights will remain with Disney indefinitely, certain royalties from them will go to Sony after the deal is finalized. Additionally, Queen’s distribution deal with Universal, which currently covers all territories outside the US and Canada, will transition to Sony when it expires in 2026 or 2027.

Representatives for Sony Music, Sony Music Publishing, Disney’s Hollywood Records, and the band have either declined or not immediately responded to requests for comment. Sony’s tendency to refrain from commenting on catalog acquisitions is not surprising, as the industry has widely acknowledged its nine-figure deals for Bruce Springsteen’s publishing and recorded-music rights, as well as Bob Dylan’s recorded-music rights.

Queen was formed in London in 1970 by Brian May and Roger Taylor, who had previously played together in a band called Smile. They were eventually joined by Freddie Mercury on vocals and piano, and John Deacon on bass the following year. Multiple record labels initially turned them down, but they eventually struck a deal with EMI, which released their self-titled debut album in 1973.

Although they had obtained some success in the UK with the singles “Seven Seas of Rhye” and “Killer Queen,” Queen achieved global breakthrough in 1975 with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This Mercury-penned mini-symphony became one of the longest and most unconventional hit singles of all time.

Throughout the following decade, each band member wrote a No. 1 single, solidifying their status as one of the biggest acts in the world. Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” May’s “We Will Rock You,” Deacon’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” and Taylor’s “Radio Ga Ga” all topped the charts.

Although they never fully dominated the US music scene, Queen played sold-out stadium shows worldwide. In fact, for several years, their 1985 performance at the Rock in Rio Festival drew a staggering estimated crowd of 600,000 people, setting an all-time attendance record for a single concert.

Tragically, Freddie Mercury contracted AIDS and passed away in 1991. However, Queen’s legacy has endured and continued to grow over the years. Their songs are still regularly played on the radio and at sporting events, with “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” becoming stadium anthems. May and Taylor, now in their mid-seventies, continue to tour under the Queen name, ensuring that the band’s music lives on.

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