The Legal Beat: Beach Boys Sell Their Intellectual Property

The Beach Boys are probably feeling some “Good Vibrations” recently from a monetary standpoint. They have sold a majority interest in their intellectual property to a new company (Iconic Artist Group) led by music mogul Irving Azoff. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This was more than just a sale of music publishing rights, so it differs from other recent deals by Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks. The sale by The Beach Boys is much broader and includes “their sound recordings, the brand, select music compositions and memorabilia,” according to Variety.

As classic bands get older, they begin to think about the future. As Elizabeth Collins, co-President of the Azoff Company, stated: “A lot of artists are getting to a point in life where they want to think about estate planning, they want to think about the future of their legacy.”

It is thought that The Beach Boys have not exploited their brand as well as they could have in the past. Beach Boys member Al Jardine mentioned recently an unsuccessful Beach Boys Café in Manhattan Beach, and a clothing line.

Iconic’s CEO, Oliver Chastan, stated: “The Beach Boys, in a sense, are not just a band. They’re a lifestyle, they’re a consumer brand. And they never really exploited that.”

So, some suggest, they could pursue such ventures as restaurants (think Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville), or a Broadway show, such as “Jersey Boys” about the musical group The Four Seasons. And in the future, there may be opportunities with virtual reality, 3D, CGI, etc. Possible future plans may celebrate the band’s 60th anniversary with a documentary, TV shows or even reunion concerts.

Why would The Beach Boys decide to cash in now? They may think their catalog is currently at its height in value. Also, over the years, the band members have had disputes with one another. From now on, Iconic will be guiding the band. According to member Jardine, “They can make the final decisions on business decisions, which is what we really need––what we have needed, I should say.” The Beach Boys will still share in the “upside” that Iconic hopes to achieve by promoting and marketing the band.

Original band members Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and Mike Love, as well as Carl Wilson’s estate issued a joint statement:

“For more than half a century, we’ve witnessed generations of fans from all corners of the world come together to celebrate our music, dancing and singing along to the songs that we have loved and performed for decades. As we look toward the upcoming 60th anniversary of The Beach Boys, we wanted a partner to help expand opportunities for our brand, while continuing to preserve our tradition as a band whose music transcends the test of time. We are confident that Irving and Iconic are the ideal partners and are confident that The Beach Boys’ ongoing legacy is in the best possible hands. We are very proud of what we have achieved as The Beach Boys and how our songs continue to resonate with our fans.”

Photo by Louise Palanker