Artists who haven’t sold their catalog are seemingly a smaller number with every passing year. After all, there have been numerous artists in recent years that have sold their music catalog and other properties for a massive price tag.

In 2024 alone, there have been two major catalog sale and one reported sale that, if true, could make history as the biggest catalog sale in music history. In February, Rod Steward sold his catalog to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group for $100 million. In June 2023, Billboardreported Stewart was close to a catalog deal with Hipgnosis. Sale talks went on for two years, only for Stewart to back out.

In April, KISS sold its catalog, name, logo and makeup rights to Pophouse for a reported $300 million. Pophouse, a Swedish entertainment and music investment firm, already had a relationship with the band and is the creative force behind the creation of the KISS Avatars.

And then, there’s the recent news of a reported sale of Queen's catalog. According to Billboard, the band is “finally getting close” to selling its diverse catalog for a reported sum of $1.2 billion. The outlet noted the sale may have already taken place, and the deal is “in an exclusive period with an undisclosed suitor.”

In addition to Queen’s music, other pieces of this remarkable deal also include “publishing and ancillary income streams,” which includes the revenue from the 2018 hit biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. This deal also may include “royalties from the North America master recordings catalog, which Queen sold to the Disney-owned Hollywood Records at some unknown point since the label began licensing the band’s recordings in the early 1990s.”

The 2020’s Boom of Catalog Sales

The sale of artists’ catalogs really took off in the 2020’s. In 2021 and 2022, there were some truly massive sales. Among them was Bruce Springsteen, who ended 2021 with the sale of his masters and music publishing catalog to Sony Music and Sony Music Publishing. That deal was for a reported $500 million.

In January 2022, it was announced the David Bowie estate brokered a nine-figure deal upwards of $250 million with Warner Chappell Music for the singers publishing catalog. The deal included the songs featured on Bowie’s 26 studio albums, posthumous releases, his two studio albums with Tin Machine and other stand-alone singles.

Needless to say, an artist has the potential to set their family up for multiple generations with the strategic sale of their catalog. However, there are still some artists who’ve opted to not sell (for now). Here are five artists who haven’t sold their catalog.

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