By selling her music rights for a reported $225 million, the pop star saw her wealth take off like a firework.
By Marisa Dellatto, Forbes Staff
Pop superstar Katy Perry sold her music rights to Carlyle-backed Litmus Music on Monday for a reported $225 million. With the sale, her net worth increases to an estimated $340 million, making her one of the richest self-made women in America.
Perry sold her stakes in master recordings royalties and publishing rights for the five albums she released from 2008 to 2020, One Of The Boys, Teenage Dream, PRISM, Witness and Smile, according to Billboard and Variety. Litmus, which was founded in August 2022 by music industry veterans Hank Forsyth and Dan McCarroll, with $500 million from the Carlyle Group, has wasted no time buying up music rights. In August, Litmus purchased the rights to country star Keith Urban’s catalog and in June, music producer Benny Bianco sold the rights to his hits—which include songs by Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Camila Cabello—to Litmus. Representatives for Litmus Music declined to comment to Forbes on the details of the Perry sale.
The transaction is one of the biggest music sales of 2023. In January, rapper Dr. Dre reportedly sold a portion of his royalties from solo albums, his work with NWA and other music income streams for more than $200 million. Justin Bieber sold his publishing rights and royalties from his master recordings that same month for a similar figure.
The 38-year-old Perry did not make Forbes’ 2023 list of the Richest Self Made Women in America, which was published in June–though she is surely a contender for next year’s. At the time, Forbes had estimated her net worth at below $200 million, based on her income from touring, recording and her role as an American Idol judge. (The minimum to make the 2023 list was $225 million). With her increased net worth, she would join the ranks alongside other wealthy female musicians, including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand.
Representatives for Perry did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
Perry came onto the music scene in 2008 with her debut single “I Kissed A Girl.” The song went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for seven weeks. Eight other Perry hits would also eventually reach the top spot, including “California Gurls,” “E.T” and “Firework.” In 2015, she was featured on the cover of Forbes as the third highest-earning entertainer that year. Having raked in $135 million pre-tax, she netted more than Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus combined. That same year she performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
“I am proud of my position as a boss, as a person that runs my own company,” Perry told Forbes at the time. “I’m an entrepreneur. … I don’t want to shy away from it. I actually want to kind of grab it by its balls.”
In 2019, Forbes named Perry the ninth highest-earning musician of the decade, with an estimated income of $530 million.
Perry’s net worth is mostly comprised of cash from her music career and tour earnings. In 2018, Perry joined the ABC revival of American Idol as a judge. She will return for her seventh season on the competition series, where she reportedly earns $25 million, in 2024. “I’m really proud that as a woman I got paid,” she said of reports of her high salary. “And you know why? I got paid, pretty much, more than any guy that’s been on that show.”
Since 2021, Perry has also had a Las Vegas residency at Resorts World that pays her a reported $168 million for 32 shows and will wrap up in November. The singer, who is married to actor Orlando Bloom, also has a shoe brand, Katy Perry Collections, and a non-alcoholic beverage brand, De Soi.
The sale of Perry’s catalog doesn’t mean she’s done making music for good —although she hasn’t released an album since 2020’s Smile. “I’m always writing,” she recently told Good Morning America. “I have been, but I think what’s really important to me is to be celebrating the world that I’ve got to build with all of these wonderful songs and to be responsible for a life for a three-year-old. I will be back, but let me get this right.“
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