Ever wanted to own something cool? Say, Iggy Pop’s entire back catalogue of hit tracks? Sure, that’ll be $150 million thanks…

As Reuters reports, the publishing rights for Iggy Pop, along with the likes of Culture Club, Lenny Kravitz and Goo Goo Dolls are being auctioned off by Sony/ATV after their their recent EMI purchase is forcing them to sell off the Virgin Music and Famous UK catalogues.

As previously reported, Sony Corp in Japan has purchased Britain’s EMI Music Publishing, one of the largest of its kind in the industry, for $US 2.2 billion from prior owners, Citigroup, effectively making the largest music copyrights company in the world.

Sony’s purchase of the EMI publishing catalogue merges their some 750,000 tracks with the EMI’s booming 1.3 million strong catalogue to give them control of over 2 million copyrighted songs in total; from The Beatles and Motown, as well as classics like “Somehwhere Over The Rainbow” and contemporary artists likes Norah Jones and Jay-Z.

By acquiring EMI Publishing, Sony/ATV, a 50-50 joint venture between Sony and the Michael Jackson estate, is expected to capture nearly a third of publishing revenue in the world. More precisely, the combined share of EMI and Sony/ATV would be 31% of the global market for music copyrights, combining the former’s 19.3% and the latter’s 11.7% also surpasses the current 22% share owned by current company leader Universal Music Publishing Group.

As reported by Reuters, in order for regulators to pass this deal, certain concessions had to be agreed on. One such divestment is the sale of the rights to some 30,000 works that make up the Virgin Music and Famous UK Catalogues. Backed into a corner, the industry giant had no choice but to oblige to the concesssions in order for the transaction in purchasing EMI to go ahead.

Unlike the recent acquisition of EMI Records by Universal Music, which was relatively unopposed by the ACCC (to much displeasure and angst from Australian indie labels), this move is being carefully mandated to help nurture the market, rather than see it slip into disarray. Regulators are hoping this move will restrict Sony and  help level the play field on the global music front; a move which should be humbly welcomed by independent labels all over the world.

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A number of high profile players have been contacted in relation to the deal. Industry heavyweights such as record company Warner Music Group, Primary Wave Music, Round Hill Music, Imagem Music and business firms Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts & Co LP will front the bidding war, which currently has no first-round deadline.

Punters are expected to fork out an estimated USD $150 million for the catalogues – a hard hit to the pocket of an industry in an up hill battle with growing music piracy, which consumes millions of dollars of musical revenue each year, in Australia alone.

That might have something to do with the fact that here down under, we’re the worst downloaders of illegal music (per person) in the world. Or you could take the flip side and say it’s all the labels’ fault.

After all, those sneaky old record labels are up to their old tricks again. There’s the recently unearthed conspiracy that big record companies used the advent of the CD as a ways to kill off vinyl to make bigger profits, while more contemporary headlines saw them grinning as they successfully sued another sorry individual for $222,000 over the download of just 24 songs.

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