Sony Music has acquired legendary rock band Queen‘s catalog for a staggering $1.27 billion.

The news was initially reported by Hits Daily Double. Variety confirmed the report and revealed that the only revenue not covered in the Sony Music deal is for Queen's live performances.

Brian May and Roger Taylor, two of the founding members of the band, will retain these. They still tour with singer Adam Lambert.

Sony Music was not the only player involved in the bidding. Per Variety's report, there was another player that was “very close” behind the eventual winner. They reportedly pulled out just short of $900 million.

Queen's music has been in limbo for years. Variety states that the catalog has been “inching toward Sony for the past few months.” In the US and Canada, Disney holds the rights after acquiring it for an undisclosed price in the 2000s.

While the rights will remain with Disney in “perpetuity,” some of the band's royalties from them will go to Sony after the new deal. Variety adds that the distribution deal will go to Sony in all non-US and Canadian territories after expiring in 2026 or 2027. The current distribution deal is held with Universal.

Who is Queen and what songs did they write?

Queen, Freddie Mercury performing at Live Aid in 1985.
PA Images/Sipa USA.

Queen is a legendary rock band formed in 1970. In some way or another, the band has remained intact since its conception. Freddie Mercury headlined the band as lead singer with Brian May and Roger Taylor playing guitar and drums, respectively. Bassist John Deacon later joined the group.

Their breakthrough came with their 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack. The album featured hit songs “Killer Queen” and “Now I'm Here.” They followed that up with A Night at the Opera.

A Night at the Opera features the band's biggest song ever: “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Additionally, the album features “You're My Best Friend” and “Love of My Life.”

Throughout the seventies and eighties, the band remained at the top of rock. They also put on incredible concerts including the iconic Live Aid performance.

Freddie Mercury toured with the group until he died in 1991. Queen's final concert tour, the “Magic” tour, took place in 1986.

After an extended break, Paul Rodgers joined the group for a tour from 2005-06. Rodgers also joined them for the 2008 “Rock the Cosmos” tour.

Beginning in 2012, Adam Lambert started touring with the band. He was the runner-up of American Idol Season 8. While he did not win the competition show, he has been touring with Queen for five concert tours.

The most recent, the “Rhapsody” tour, commenced in 2019. After six legs and over 100 shows, the tour concluded in February 2024 with a show in Tokyo, Japan.

The band's legacy

Queen remains one of the biggest bands in the world. Well after their glory days, they remain popular.

Perhaps some of this is due to Bohemian Rhapsody, the band's 2018 biopic directed by Bryan Singer. Rami Malek starred in the movie as Mercury and won an Oscar for Best Actor for the performance.

Bohemian Rhapsody grossed over $910.8 million worldwide on a budget of just $51 million. The music biopic genre may have grown tired, but Queen's was a smash hit.