Coolio has brought so much happiness to your life already, but that's potentially just the beginning. How would you like to retire off of his music?
That could happen, should you decide to buy the performance royalties from his entire song catalog, which go on sale near the end of the month. (Assuming that, um, there's sufficient market demand for the music.) “Gangsta's Paradise,” “Fantastic Voyage” and all the rest are being offered through a company called The Royalty Exchange. The bidding will start at….
There will be 123 songs in total, from eight different albums, and it will all kick off on Aug. 28 at 9 am pacific time and end the next day at 11 am pacific time. The catalog is being sold directly from Coolio himself.
But what are performance royalties, you ask? Fair question! The Royalty Exchange co-founder Wilson Owens breaks it down for us:
Performance royalties are paid to songwriters and publishers every time a song is played in public, including television networks, radio stations, background music services like MUZAK, colleges and universities, concert presenters, symphony orchestras, web sites, bars, restaurants, hotels, theme parks, skating rinks, bowling alleys, circuses, you name it — if they play music, they have to have a license and pay royalties.
These are different than mechanical royalties, which are based
on sales of music through CDs, tapes, vinyl, etc. Synchronization, or synch rights, are paid when songs are used in TV, films or commercials, synched up to a visual property. There are also print royalties, derived from the sale of sheet music, etc.
It's hard to estimate what percentage of total royalties are made up by performance royalties for any one particular song catalog, but it's generally between 70-80 percent generally, according to information from the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies.
Would the Coolio catalog be a good investment?
We at West Coast Sound are certainly not financial planning experts, and in truth haven't even paid our 2012 taxes yet. (Shhhhh don't tell the IRS they never read this blog.)
But among music stars who broke out in the '90s, Coolio has had remarkable durability. He has made all sorts of television appearances, and has even hooked up with the Juggalo generation, even if he's not exactly sure how to spell 'Juggalo.' He's also re-fashioned himself a chef, and in fact says he plans to use the money from this sale to further his series of cookbooks and his online Cookin' with Coolio show.
The point is he's remained in the public eye, and that seems to determine what music gets programmed as much as anything. Ever notice how when an artist is in the news, or has a new album, you start to hear a bunch of their old songs on the radio? Same principle at play.
In any case, we're not saying you should hit up your rich aunt and beg her for 140 stacks. (Better make that 200 stacks, actually; who knows how high the bidding will go.) But we are saying that this catalog is one of the, um, cool(io)est investment opportunities we've encountered in our many, ok, zero years of studying investment opportunities.
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