Greve and his new American partner both say the latter has bought the rights to Alan Walker’s music for more than NOK 420 million.
It’s been seven years since Alan Walker, a half-British native, broke through with the single “Faded.”
Now the artist’s billions of streams have led to one of the biggest rights sales in Norwegian music ever – with few instances comparable.
Walker manager Gunnar Greve, 41, told VG that half of the rights to Walker’s music from 2015-2020 have now been sold to US investment firm GoldState Music.
Industry fox buyer gang
GoldState is run by industry mogul Charles Goldstock, who, among other things, has previously founded music companies with other behind-the-scenes giants such as Clive Davis and L.A. Reid.
As a record label executive, he’s previously been responsible for, among others, Rod Stewart, The Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, and Britney Spears – just to name a few of the jobs he’s held.
Goldstuck told VG that he had bought the copyright (to songwriting) and majority stake in the copyright (to recorded music) in Alan Walker’s catalog.
Both Greve and Goldstuck say the sale had a total value of just over $40 million, which at today’s exchange rate equates to more than NOK 420 million.
According to Griff, he and his MER labels began working on creating a salable “package deal” out of Walker’s rights as early as 2020.
The Walker manager is bringing his family and business across the pond this summer, to purposefully work with Walker Music in the American market.
Goldstock says he considers Walker one of the most important artists Europe has nurtured in the past 10 years.
He is very excited to work with EDM artist and griff.
Gunnar is one of the most impressive coaches I’ve ever worked with. The more he talked about Alan, what they had achieved and what their plans were, the clearer it became to me that Alan could become a very important part of what I was doing.
Great chance, Alan
According to Goldstuck, the investment is future-oriented, though what he’s bought now is Walker’s “old” music.
– The more success Alan achieves in the future, the more impact he will have on his catalog. And I think Alan’s big opportunity is to conquer more parts of the US market. He’s huge in Asia, huge in Europe – and an important artist in the US, but I think he has much more potential here.
In the team there is British Goldstock Joe Louis, a wealthy investor who owns, among other things, most of the shares in the English football club Tottenham – Gunnar Greif’s favorite football team since childhood.
– I told Gunnar that if Alan didn’t get more hits, Gunnar wouldn’t be allowed on the field and watch more Tottenham games, Goldstock laughs.
Lewis is also involved in the urban development of Lake Nona, the area in Orlando, Florida where Griff will now settle.
– We’re also building music studios and production facilities there, says Goldstock.
In recent years, music rights have strengthened as an attractive commodity for investors with significant financial power.
However, in the Norwegian artist’s flora, there are few rights sales of arguably international scope.
An honorable exception is the US-based Norwegian woodworking duo Stargate, which consists of Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen.
in 2018 They sold the rights for what is estimated, according to industry magazine Billboard, to be around half a billion kroner.
Willi Martinsen is Director of Communications at TONO, which manages rights for songwriters in Norway. He says the Stargate sale is the only Norwegian case he knows of that can compare to Walker’s.
“Walker has a very valuable catalog,” says Martinsen, who also believes that the sale price indicates great confidence in the value of the catalog on the part of the buyer.
– This is music that will live on for a long time. It took root and became prominent in the world.
Very good income
Music rights have proven to be good investment items. It’s become a big business, but it may not have come to Norway in the same way yet, Greif says.
The Norwegian director believes the music industry is now beginning to move on from what has long been a lament: “How do you make money on Spotify?”
– They said that ten years ago. Very few people say that today. The truth today is that TikTok, Facebook, and other platforms are also starting to push in a big way. This is just an ecosystem that grows in 3D, Greif says.
– And then the income also comes to those who sit on the rights. Music will increase and enjoy multidimensional exponential growth for many years.
According to Griff, selling the rights to Walker is a bit unorthodox.
– It’s not like you’re reading that Bob Dylan has sold his catalog, it’s more likely that a great artist has sold all his rights and is going to get his pension, he says.
Grieve points to the fact that major artists like Dylan, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen have several decades of heavy rotation on American radio as an important selling point when selling their rights.
– Very good income, but a very short history, says the manager about the Walker catalog.
An important selling point for Greve was that Walker Music now has 50 billion certified streams to offer, across all platforms.
He quit the record company
Greve does not want to say how about 420 million is distributed among sellers. Walker himself did not want to comment on the sale.
However, the money is distributed to more than one artist and director, according to the latter.
His MER subsidiaries include many of the songwriters and producers involved in Walker’s music; Walker’s songs often have a double number of copyright holders involved.
– There are a number of people in this agreement who are selling the rights, and they’ve made a very good deal.
According to Griff, much of that money will be invested in businesses around the Walker universe, and in the development of the brand – not least in the form of the next American project.
The manager also mentions that Alan Walker’s contract with Sony Music – one of the three largest global record labels – has now expired and will not be renewed.
Walker is signed by Sony’s Swedish division.
– I think the big record companies pretty much played their part for new and future artists, says Griff.
However, he maintains that there is no bad mood associated with the break with the record company – and that they will continue to work with Sony in managing the Walker catalog.
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