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Dr. Dre to Sell Catalog to Universal Music Group, Shamrock

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The West Coast rap legend has reportedly reached a deal worth north of $200M with Universal Music Group and Shamrock Holdings for his royalties and masters. Boardroom breaks down the details of the historic agreement.

Dr. Dre refined the art of the perfect beat. Over the course of the last four decades, he’s influenced every aspect of the industry and laid the foundation for generations to come. However, through it all, he’s remained more than the music. Dre single-handedly redefined entrepreneurship for artists, charting new territory where many others have followed.

Now, the legendary rapper and producer is setting a standard once more. In news that Billboard first reported, Dre has reportedly struck a deal with Universal Music Group and Shamrock Holdings for his music catalog that is worth more than $200 million.

But what does the deal include? And how will the holdings be broken up? Boardroom breaks it down.

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True to form, Dr. Dre appears to have done this deal his own way. The whole deal will consist of two separate transactions, one with Shamrock Holdings and the other with Universal Music Group, thus making the offerings distinct.

So who gets what?

Shamrock Holdings, which is a Roy E. Disney-founded private equity firm that still maintains the Disney family as its sole investor, will take home the lion’s share of the package. Their stake shakes out to approximately 75-90% of the package and will include the more passive elements, such as the royalties from The Chronic and 2001, as well as his stake in N.W.A.’s ongoing royalties. This is not the first investment of the short for Shamrock, which was a player in the much-discussed Taylor Swift sale in 2020.

Universal Music Group, which is a central player in the industry, will scoop up the remaining 10-25% of the offerings. Reports indicate that their acquisition will include the masters for The Chronic and other creative projects. His landmark solo album originally released with Death Row Records, but will be eligible for a change in rights ownership this August. If all goes to plan, UMG will take over at that time.

In all, the collection is expected to generate $10 million annually, signaling a solid ROI for its investors.

The news comes on the same day that the Black Music Collective revealed it will honor Dre alongside Missy Elliot, Lil Wayne, and Epic Records’ Sylvia Rhone in a pre-Grammy event on Feb. 2.

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About The Author
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos is the Senior Director of Editorial Strategy at Boardroom. Before joining the team, her work appeared in ELLE. She previously served as the head of evaluation for a nonprofit where she became obsessed with systems and strategy and served as the curator of vibes and extinguisher of fires for the design thinking firm Stoked. She is constantly plotting a perfect tunnel ‘fit and a playlist for all occasions.