Dr. Dre Sells Back Catalog To Universal Music In $200 Million-Plus Deal
The rapper, music producer and cofounder of Beats By Dre is cashing in.
It’s “Still D.R.E.” when it comes to Dr. Dre’s penchant for inking blockbuster business deals.
The rapper, music producer and cofounder of Beats By Dre–which Apple bought in 2014 for $3 billion–is selling a lucrative collection of music income streams and other assets in a $200 million-plus deal, according to multiple reports.
The assets, which generate nearly $10 million annually, are being acquired by Shamrock Holdings and Universal Music Group in two separate transactions. The deals were shopped by Dre’s longtime attorney Peter Paterno. The news was first reported by Billboard and confirmed by Variety.
A source close to Dre told Variety that the final sale price is likely to be below the $250 million asking price, but well above $200 million.
The assets are said to include artist royalties from two of his solo albums and his share of N.W.A. artist royalties; his producer royalties; and the writer’s share of his song catalog where he doesn’t own publishing, which may include songs from his 1993 blockbuster album The Chronic.
According to Billboard’s sources, that portion includes 75% to 90% of the package’s revenue and is likely being acquired by Shamrock (which owns some Taylor Swift master recordings), with UMG acquiring the remaining 10% to 25%.
Also included in UMG’s acquisition would be the master recording of The Chronic, which is scheduled to revert to Dre from Death Row Entertainment (which recently was acquired by Dre’s protégé Snoop Dogg last year) in August; his share of an Aftermath/Interscope joint venture with the Top Dawg label for Kendrick Lamar releases through that deal; and other assets.
The Universal deal does not include Dre’s ownership stake in the Aftermath label, which he co-owns with his longtime label home, UMG’s Interscope Records.
In addition to his myriad of business assets, Dre was named the top-earning artist of the 2010s by Forbes, which reported that he raked in more than $950 million over that decade.