A year after Paul Simon sold his song catalog to Sony Music Publishing, the legendary artist is now shopping his master recording royalties from his Simon & Garfunkel recorded works, multiple sources tell Billboard.
The master royalties include the five Simon & Garfunkel studio albums that the duo recorded for Columbia/Sony starting in 1964, including 1971 Grammy album of the year Bridge Over Troubled Water. The duo has sold more than 100 million records, according to Sony. “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “America,” “Homeward Bound,” “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” and “The Boxer” are among the classic recordings on these albums.
A source says the deal does not include Art Garfunkel’s share of Simon & Garfunkel’s master recording royalties.
Simon, one of the most revered singer-songwriters in modern American history, launched his career as a member of Simon & Garfunkel before going on to have a lauded solo career. Simon’s current recorded music contract is with Sony Music Entertainment. Since 2010, Sony has also controlled the masters of the solo albums he recorded for Warner Brothers.
Billboard estimates that the Simon & Garfunkel catalog, which also includes a number of live albums, brings in around $8.3 million a year. Using a hybrid formula to calculate artist royalty rates, backing out Garfunkel’s share and using a 20 times multiple, Billboard estimates Simon’s income stream range is between $20 million and $30 million. Sources say the asking price is in the eight figures.
A number of private-equity backed independent publishing companies have expressed interest in acquiring the passive income stream and one source says the deal has not yet closed.
Simon’s attorney declined to comment. His manager did not respond to a request for comment.
Simon was the first recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982 and received that organization’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 1998, as well as its Towering Song award for “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in 2010.
Simon has been voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – with Simon & Garfunkel in 1990 and as a solo artist in 2001.
The singer-songwriter has also won 16 Grammys, including a record three awards for Record of the Year, a record-tying three awards for Album of the Year and one award for Song of the Year. Simon & Garfunkel received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2003.
Ed Christman assisted in preparing this article.