Nikki Sixx and his bank account are likely having a decent week after the Motley Crue bassist and primary songwriter sold his shares of the band’s catalog to music investment company Hipgnosis Songs.
Variety reports Hipgnosis acquired 100 percent of Sixx’s share of the Crue catalog, which is made up of 305 songs. The exact price of the deal was not disclosed. Considering Motley Crue has sold over 100 million albums worldwide and sales and streams of the catalog went through the roof in the wake of the release of the Netflix adaptation of their memoir The Dirt, it’s fair to estimate the figure was sizable.
Sixx said in a statement on the deal, “[Founder] Merck [Mercuriadis] and his team at Hipgnosis are an artist-friendly, forward-thinking company. Looking to the future I am grateful that they will treat my music with great care and respect.”
Mercuriadis added, “Motley Crue were single-handedly responsible for the Los Angeles rock explosion of the 1980s paving the way for everyone that came in their wake and putting rock music back onto Top 40 radio and the pop charts. Nikki was the catalyst and architect of all of that and we are delighted to welcome him to the Hipgnosis family.”
Motley Crue famously acquired their own masters in 1998 after cutting a deal with then-record label Elektra Records with the help of their manager Allen Kovac. The band took a major hit financially upfront giving up about $10-12 million in order to own their masters and re-release them via their own label, Motley Records.
Kovac would later tell Fast Company, “Without owning their own masters and publishing, I don’t know if there would have been a Motley Crue in the lean years. It’s part of having multiple sources of income for your business, not just one.”
Sixx added, “The old business model where you make a record, tour for two years, and then make another record doesn’t exist anymore. Records don’t sell–people just cherry-pick their favorite songs. If you put a whole record out and people only go for one song, you never get a return on your investment. So we decided to record less music and put it into bigger-picture things, using one new song as a driver for a tour or an advertising partner.”