Dr. Dre is selling several of his music assets and income streams in deals with both Universal Music Group (UMG) and Shamrock Capital, Billboard and Variety report. The combined sale price is said to exceed $200 million. Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Dr. Dre, UMG, and Shamrock for comment.
Assets acquired by Shamrock Capital reportedly include Dre’s artist royalties from two of his solo albums, 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 potentially includes his writer’s share of The Chronic, which is published by Sony Music Publishing.
UMG has reportedly acquired the master recordings for Dre’s 1992 debut LP The Chronic—which are set to revert to Dre from Death Row Entertainment in August 2023—and his share of Kendrick Lamar’s releases through the Top Dawg Entertainment deal with Interscope (A UMG subsidiary) and Dre’s Aftermath imprint. Dre is said to retain his stake in Aftermath, which he co-owns with Interscope.
The sale of Dre’s assets come in the wake of the recent cease-and-desist that his lawyers sent Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, who used Dre’s song “Still D.R.E.” in a video posted to Twitter. The letter promised Dre “will never grant” the congresswoman “permission to broadcast or disseminate any of his music.” It is unclear to what degree Dre will be able to restrict anyone from licensing his music after the sale.
The speculative market for music assets continues to grow, expanding from classic rock and pop artists like Genesis, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen to include hip-hop artists like Chuck D, Future, and now, Dr. Dre. In 2020, the “institutionally backed” investment firm Shamrock—originally founded in 1978 by Roy E. Disney as Shamrock Holdings—acquired six Taylor Swift albums from Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings, who famously purchased the rights from her former label Big Machine. Swift has since re-recorded two of the albums purchased by Shamrock.