A package of Genesis, Phil Collins and some Mike + the Mechanics music assets have sold to Concord, the company told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Billboard originally reported on Wednesday that a deal was nearly done, but did not know the identity of the buyer. An official announcement is still forthcoming.
In January, Billboard reported that a package of Collins’ rights had been shopped for upwards of $200 million, according to sources. That package, sources says, morphed into a bigger deal that also includes all of the publishing for Genesis and possibly even Mike + the Mechanics, as well as their master recordings rights. Specifically, sources say the deal encompassed the artist’s share of the master recordings and publishing. In the case of Collins, that means a combination of artist royalties for masters owned by Atlantic and his ownership stake in other Collins solo albums on the label. For Mike + the Mechanics’ part of the deal, it’s unclear if the band launched by bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford during a Genesis hiatus in 1985 band owned its masters, or if the deal being shopped only included Rutherford’s share of the band’s royalties. And while sources say that Genesis owned a significant majority of its master recordings and that the deal included all the band’s recordings — even those made when Peter Gabriel was lead singer from 1968 to 1974 — Billboard couldn’t determine if he, or other former band members, had a share of ownership, and if so, if their shares were a part of the deal; or if the package was only offering the ownership rights from the shares of the members from the later iteration of Genesis with Collins, Rutherford and Tony Banks.
Billboard estimates that the overall package, after the deduction of production and distribution costs, averaged about $12.4 million annually over the last three years in master recording revenue and about $5.5 million in annual publishing revenue. Billboard further estimates that the package of music rights, which sources say includes name and likeness, carries a valuation of at least $335 million and might be as much as $375 million. (This estimate is based on full ownership of the artist master recordings, and could be less depending on how much of the catalog is owned by the three recording acts and how much just includes royalty income streams.) Sources say that the sellers had outsized expectations and that when the package was first shopped earlier in the year they were asking for opening bids of at least 250 million British pounds, which on April 30, 2022, would have been about $315 million. At current exchange rates, that now equals about $270 million.
The package supposedly also includes such Collins solo hits as “In The Air Tonight,” which according to Luminate has 7.26 million song consumption units, along with “You’ll Be In My Heart” (3.03 million units) and “Against All Odds” (2.43 million units). It also includes master recordings of Collins’ covers of “A Groovy Kind Of Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love,” which all each have over 1 million song consumption units. Genesis hits in the package likely include “That’s All” (1.4 million units), “Invisible Touch” (1.06 million units) and “Land of Confusion,” “In too Deep,” and “Follow You, Follow Me” (all in the 650,000 to 750,000 unit range). It may also include such Mike + The Mechanics songs as “The Living Years” (454,000 units) and “All I Need Is A Miracle” (231,000 units).
Breaking out the package of music rights by recording artist, Collins’ music assets generate more than twice the activity of the Genesis catalog, with Billboard estimating its valuation at about $235 million, based on almost $4 million in estimated publishing royalties and $8.5 million in master recording revenue from his solo catalog. (This is a different number than used in the previous story because the amount cited in that report also included an estimate for some of his Genesis rights. This story also uses lower multiples in its valuation estimate than that story.) Moreover, since the new package included both the Genesis and the Mike + the Mechanics catalogs, the valuation is substantially larger than the one cited in the earlier story. In the U.S., the Collins catalog has averaged 340,000 album consumption units annually over the last three years, according to Luminate.
As for the Genesis catalog, Billboard estimates its recordings and publishing valuation at about $85 million, while assigning a valuation of about $17 million to the Mike + the Mechanics catalog. In the U.S. over the last three years, the Genesis catalog has averaged 162,000 album consumption units annually, while the Mike + The Mechanics catalog has averaged about 18,000 album consumption units annually. In the U.S. to date, the Collins catalog has generated 15.2 million album consumption units, while the Genesis catalog has totaled 11.3 million units and Mike + The Mechanics has about 755,000 album consumption units, according to Luminate.
Most of the publishing for all three recording acts appear to be administered by Concord. The master recording catalogs of Collins, Genesis and most of the Mike + the Mechanics are mainly at the Warner Music Group and sources previously said those records will probably stay there for the foreseeable future.
Tony Smith, who is Collins’ and Genesis’ manager and who sources say was shopping the Genesis portion of the music rights package, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But for the prior story earlier this year, he emailed the following statement to Billboard: “Over the last three or four years there have been several major deals, with quite a few bidders in the market looking to purchase publishing and recording copyrights, amongst many others we have been approached on several occasions. While we continue to monitor the market activities as managers, this should not be described as shopping or being up for sale. How people describe the fact of us answering the phone is not within our control or concern.”