Hard rock band Kiss sells brand and songs for $300m

April 4, 2024  –The hard rock band Kiss has sold its back catalogue of songs to a Swedish music investor for a figure thought to be upwards of $300m (£237m).

Stockholm-based Pophouse Entertainment also bought the group’s brand, likeness and intellectual property.

The sale marks the band’s retirement from live performances on their End of the Road World Tour.

Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen have also sold their back catalogues for multi-million dollar figures.

Both artists sold to big music houses for $500m (£395m) and $450m (£355m) respectively.

Although details of the Kiss deal have not been revealed it is understood to be similar to that of the British band Genesis, but less than the back catalogue sale of Michael Jackson’s work ($600m/£474m).

However Pophouse will own not just the rights to the music but the entire Kiss brand, including intellectual property sales, which will allow the Swedish firm to generate future AI-generated content.

The company, which previously collaborated with Kiss on a digital avatar project in December last year, also produced the Abba Voyage concerts based on a similar principle.

Kiss was founded in 1973 by lead singers Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. The opening line-up, which also included Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, became renowned for their iconic face paint.

Getty Images KissGetty Images

In their 1970s heyday the band produced such hits as Rock and Roll All Nite and God of Thunder.

In 1983 they appeared without face paint for the first time and enjoyed something of a resurgence. This was known as their “unmasking”. They later re-masked in the late 1990s.

‘Collaborative’

Kiss have sold some 100 million records over the past 50 years.

Speaking to BBC World Business Report, Gene Simmons, widely regarded as the entrepreneurial heart of the band, addressed questions about the scale of monies involved.

He declined to put a precise figure on it but teased that it might be “billions of dollars” before suggesting that would be a tall and “unfair” claim.

“We will be able to pay our rent, but for any amount of money we wouldn’t get into bed with the wrong folks,” he said.

“The best thing about this deal is who we’re doing the deal with, about the collaborative nature and about how we’ve met our newest best friends for the rest of our lives.”

Also speaking to the BBC, Per Sundin, CEO of Pophouse, lauded the partnership.

‘Shared vision’

“They have a unique IP in the makeup, in the dresses and the personas, and they have fantastic music, and they have fans all over the world in all the generations,” he told the BBC.

Mr Simmons, who sang and played bass for the band, along with his co-founder and co-lead singer Paul Stanley, will continue to be closely involved with the ongoing development of the brand and AI-generated material that leans into the band’s library of work.

He characterised the ongoing relationship as that of a mother to her baby.

“A mother sees her child grow up and get married or stuff, but you’re never gonna get rid of the mom,” he said. “You can’t just hand it over to somebody, although we have shared vision.”

Kiss are renowned for being prolific marketeers of branded products. Mr Simmons said they had stamped their brand on 5000 products – everything from coffee to condoms and even coffins.

To a man who also told the BBC that “more money is always good,” is there anything they would not sell?

“Kiss crack is probably not a good idea. No Kiss cigarettes. But the rest of the world is open, why not? Branding makes things fun.”

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