Gene Simmons has implied that he and KISS co-founder Paul Stanley are open to selling the band’s entire back catalog and the associated trademarks for “the right price.”
Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young are some of the iconic musicians who have recently sold off substantial rights to their music, whether it’s just for publishing or the original recordings, known as masters. Investors, major music companies and private equity firms have poured billions of dollars into buying song catalogs, believing that the rise of streaming and growing music revenues will make song rights acquisitions highly lucrative in the long term as they can be exploited for up to 70 years after a musician’s death.
Asked in a new interview with A Journal Of Musical Things if KISS will ever sell its catalog to anyone, Simmons replied: “How much have you got? Bob Dylan sold his stuff for $300-400 million. The problem — and I love the guy and worship the ground he walks on — but [his music] isn’t going to mean a lot to a 20-year-old. They don’t care about ‘The Times They Are A-Changin”, ‘Maggie’s Farm’ — they just don’t. Very few pieces of music stand the test of time. What KISS has that no other musical entity has is trademarks. Our faces are bigger than the music, bigger than anything.’
The KISS bassist/vocalist continued: “Springsteen just sold for $500 million and what you get is the music, not the imagery. I’ve never seen a Springsteen cartoon, comic book, or action figures. KISS is the only one. So what you’re buying into — if anyone does the right price — you’re into buying the imagery that has stood the test of time. Our analogy is Santa Claus/Superman: imagery that is trademarked so that no one can reproduce. And no other musical act has that.”
A year ago, KISS frontman Paul Stanley told Ultimate Classic Rock that the idea of older musicians selling their publishing rights in multimillion bundle deals makes perfect sense to him. “As far as I know, we only get one trip on this earth, and you can’t take it with you, so I totally get it,” he said. “If there’s money to be had and it’s going to make your life better, then why not? It’s a different business model, but it makes total sense… At some point in your career, you look at what you’ve created and what it’s worth. Artists do that; it’s what painting’s about. You don’t stash your artwork — you sell it.”
KISS continues to be among the most merchandised bands in history and a pioneering force in the music merchandise and licensing industry, with KISS-branded merchandise available in major retailers around the globe, including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Urban Outfitters, Hot Topic, Torrid, Tilly’s, Pacsun, Cotton On, Revolve, Nasty Gal, Princess Polly, Target, Walmart and Kohl’s, among many more.
Recent KISS deals in North America include Dead Sled Coffee, for pre-packaged coffee in the U.S.; a fashion and accessories collaboration with Robert Graham in the U.S.; high-end apparel with Lauren Moshi in the U.S.; a line of seasonal apparel with Ugly Christmas Sweater for Holiday 2021 in the U.S. In the international marketplace, recent strategic partnerships include Brands For Fans for gin and dark rum in Europe, Japan, and Australia; Metal Departments for real money gambling worldwide; Fexpro for apparel and accessories in Mexico, Central America, and South America; Konnekt for apparel and accessories in Japan; and EastPak for bags, backpacks and accessories in U.S. Europe, Middle East, Asia and Canada; among many others.
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