Sony is betting on love for the Beatles lasting in a new $750 million deal

March 16, 2016Article
Los Angeles Times

For a 2012 episode of the popular TV show "Mad Men," Lionsgate paid an estimated $250,000 for the sound recording and publishing rights to use "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Money may not buy love, but the steep price for a single Beatles song helps explain why Sony Corp. would be willing to make a hefty investment — $750 million — to take control of the world's largest music publishing company.

In the deal announced late Monday, the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant agreed to buy out the Michael Jackson estate's half of their joint venture Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The company owns 3 million copyrights and represents artists such as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift and the Beatles.

"They're betting on the future of the music industry," said William Hochberg, a music industry lawyer at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger. "It may have been a good time for this Sony acquisition, if you believe that streaming is going to be profitable in the future."

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