The Offspring's Columbia Catalog Is On the Block for $35 Million: Exclusive

Jay Blakesburg
The Offspring photographed in the 1990s.

The early 1990s were banner years for The Offspring. Capitalizing on a homegrown following, the Southern California rockers, fronted by Dexter Holland, catapulted to the top of Billboard's Alternative chart in 1994 with "Come Out and Play" -- their success so swift, Columbia Records snatched them up from indie label Epitaph, agreeing to return the band's catalog after an 18-year period.

That benchmark came to pass in 2014, when the group gained control of masters to six albums released by Sony Music. Now, according to sources, The Offspring is shopping those LPs along with its music publishing. The asking price? In the $30 million to $35 million range. (The deal could also include a new album.)

The Offspring notched impressive numbers in its day. According to Nielsen Music, the band's U.S. album sales total nearly 17 million units, and track sales number more than 4.2 million. Of the Columbia recordings, the assets being shopped include 1997's Ixnay on the Hombre, featuring radio smash "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)," with 1.4 million albums sold; 1998's Americana (5 million); and 2000's Conspiracy of One (1.2 million). Also available are publishing rights to songs outside of the Columbia catalog, including "Come Out and Play" and "Self Esteem" off 1993's aptly titled Smash.

Come Out and PlaySelf Esteem

Both songs were not only anthems of the time but also continue to have significant recurrent play on such stations as KROQ Los Angeles. The station leads all Alternative chart reporters with 7,000 and 8,000 plays to date for the tracks, respectively. The band's assets generate about $3.1 million in combined annual net publisher's share and label share, sources say. Of that, two-thirds can be attributed to master recordings, insiders estimate.

The Offspring Back at No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Chart After 18 Years

Clearly, longtime manager Jim Guerinot of Laguna Beach, Calif.-based Rebel Waltz was thinking ahead when he negotiated the act's first major-label deal in 1996. It's a reality that he believes the music business of the future will have to face with regularity. Speaking to Billboard in 2014, he said, "One thing is for sure about new contracts: Marquee artists will own their own masters. That's the bedrock conversation."

Who might come to the table as a potential bidder? Sources say Sony Music, which knows the catalog and understands its economic might, and Round Hill are likely suitors. The band's management did not respond to a request for comment.

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of Billboard.