Business

Round Hill Acquires The O'Jays' Recorded Music Income

The O'Jays
Don Hunstein/Sony Music Archives

The O'Jays photographed in July of 1973.

Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Ltd. has acquired the master royalty income of classic R&B group The O’Jays, it was announced today.

The purchase encompasses 100% of the master royalty income from 532 total recordings, including such hits as “Love Train,” “Forever Mine” and “For the Love of Money.” Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The O'Jays' catalog continues to be in the hands of Sony Music, which owns all rights to the works of the band's former label, Philadelphia International Records.

According to catalog royalty statements from calendar years 2018-2020, 64% of the revenue generated by the group's catalog is derived from streaming, followed by 17% sync, 10% downloads, 6% other and 3% physical. Eighty-eight percent of that revenue is generated in the U.S.

The top songs ranked by revenue are “Love Train,” “Forever Mine,” “For The Love of Money,” “Back Stabbers,” “Use Ta Be My Girl,” “Cry Together,” “Stairway To Heaven” and “I Love Music.”

Formed in 1958 by Eddie Levert, Walter Lee Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles, the O’Jays reached the peak of their success as a trio (Levert, Williams and Powell) after signing to Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label in 1972. The following year, they scored their biggest single with the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Love Train,” a cut off their breakthrough album Back Stabbers. Over the remainder of the decade, they racked up five additional top 10 hits on the pop tally. Six of their albums have been certified gold by the RIAA and four of their albums have been certified platinum.

In 2004, The O'Jays were introduced to a whole new generation when “For the Love of Money,” the hit 1974 single off their album Ship Ahoy, was used as the theme song to NBC’s top-rated reality competition series The Apprentice. The group was inducted into the Vocal Hall of Fame in 2004, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2013. They are also two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductees for “Love Train” and For the Love of Money.”

"We are very happy we found Round Hill to look after our lifelong catalogue," said original O’Jays members Levert and Williams in a statement. "We would like to thank Josh Gruss, Robin Godfrey-Cass, Michael Selverne, our management company 21st Century Artists, Toby Ludwig and our attorney Dorothy Weber."

Since raising an additional $86.5 million in July to boost acquisitions, Round Hill has acquired full or partial stakes in the recorded music and/or publishing catalogs of former Yes guitarist and film composer Trevor Rabin, former Foreigner drummer Dennis Elliott and rock guitarist, producer and songwriter Tim Palmer. The fund’s portfolio also includes songs from The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Rod Stewart, James Brown and Celine Dion, among others.