Justin Timberlake sells his song catalog for $100 million

Justin Timberlake has been pretty quiet for a while. I think maybe that was in an effort to not be canceled or draw further attention to himself as a jerk? He had his potential cheating incident with his costar right before covid and then over the past two years has said a bunch of apologies about the Britney and Janet stuff. And he and Jessica Biel are said to live in Montana full time. He still works, he just does so more quietly these days. Justin did make a big move this week — he sold his song catalog to Hipgnosis Song Management to the tune of more than $100 million.

Pop superstar Justin Timberlake, who got his start in the boy band NSYNC, has sold the rights to his song catalog to Hipgnosis Song Management, the British firm announced Thursday.

The deal was completed on behalf of Hipgnosis’ partnership with private equity firm Blackstone, Hipgnosis Songs Capital. It is said to be valued at more than $100 million. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, added that the agreement does not cover future releases from Timberlake.

The superstar said he is “excited” about the partnership. “I look forward to entering this next chapter,” he said in a release.

Timberlake’s hits include “Cry Me a River,” “SexyBack,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and NSYNC songs such as “Bye Bye Bye.”

Timberlake, 41, is the latest music star to sell the rights to his songs for a huge sum of money.

In December, Bruce Springsteen sold his catalog to Sony for $550 million. A month later, in January of this year, Bob Dylan sold his catalog of recorded music to Sony, as well. That came after Dylan sold his songwriting catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group in December 2020. Tina Turner sold her catalog for about $50 million to BMG in October.

[From CNBC]

Granted, I don’t know a lot about selling music catalogs, but when I read this news I thought it seemed a bit early in his career for this move. Justin has been around for 20+ years and the deal even includes N’Sync songs, but most of the artists name checked as having recently sold their catalogs have been around for even longer than that at this point. Still, $100 million is a lot of money. Maybe Justin thought that was the highest amount he was going to get and wanted to lock down that sum now. The specification that the deal doesn’t include future releases made me wonder what’s next for him. He hasn’t released new music since 2018. Could this be clearing the way for a new era of JT and he wanted a clear delineation point between his past and future? With him it’s probably not that deep and it’s just that the price was right. But good for him and his family — that’s a lot of money.

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52 Responses to “Justin Timberlake sells his song catalog for $100 million”

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  1. Danbury says:

    I don’t fully understand how he could also sell the N’Sync songs … do the other guys get a cut too?

    • VivaAviva says:

      I know that he wrote some NSYNC songs, so maybe it includes those?

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      He would have sole whatever his portion of the rights to them would have been. Like shares. Others might still own shares and have a say about licensing of those songs, but if this organization gets the majority of those rights/shares, it does what it wants and just pays out whatever the remaining rights holders are due from any deal.

  2. Sinead says:

    So how does it actually work? Does this mean JT owned his masters and so he was able to sell them? How does he own his masters and yet Taylor doesn’t own hers?

    • VivaAviva says:

      I don’t think he owns his masters (maybe the later ones). I think he’s basically selling his copyright/ability to say yes or no to the songs being licensed for movies and stuff.

  3. Sofia says:

    That is a lot of money yeah but I… thought he would have gotten more for it? Again I know $100m is *a lot* but he’s been around for 20 years or so and was/is insanely popular. I don’t know how all this works so maybe this is great amount. Anyways, it’s still a lot of money.

    • Margot says:

      Yes, I think he got lowballed here.

    • Tiffany:) says:

      One thing people don’t realize is that the labels collect the money, and then they have to pay the artist. But the labels are not honest, and regularly underpay the artists. So the artists themselves have to pay for an audit to be done. Once the audit is done and it is discovered that they were underpaid, then the label negotiates downward the amount they pay the artist.

      So it is expensive to have to keep track of what royalties and publishing money you should be receiving. I can see why he’d rather take a lump sum, than to have to hire people to baby sit the income to make sure he’s being paid properly.

      Here’s an article that details what happened to James Taylor. He was under paid $1,692,726 by Warner Bros., and after the audit they paid him only $97,857. It was also discovered they were selling his music in ways that they weren’t reporting.


  4. Susan says:

    I strongly dislike him. That is all I will say about this.

    • Lena says:

      I hope this means he has enough money he now will stay home and be a full time daddy and leave us alone. But I’m afraid he has too much ego and thinks of himself a wonderful actor that must continue in the public eye.

    • pix says:


  5. girl_ninja says:

    That is a lot of money for him and I LOVED his first two albums soooooo much. Bruce sold his catalog for $500 million and I thought that was low! So seeing that Justin got $100 million for his I stand by that assertion. I wonder if they’re (he and Jessica) rich people broke and he needs the money?

    • Barbie1 says:

      He must be desperate for cash. It seems like its a strange thing to do. As if his career over and this is his only option.

    • Ellie says:

      I’m not sure how this works but I doubt Justin is the main/sole songwriter in many of his songs (if any?), unlike Springsteen. So his cut would be much lower than someone like Springsteen. I thought 100 million sounded like a lot!

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah to me 100 million sounds like a lot, without knowing on how many songs he’s the main (or only) songwriter – which Springsteen is. (I also think for Springsteen the sale was about setting up his kids inheritances and the like; I feel like in general Bruce makes most of his money from touring, and my husband is only responsible for like half of that money, lol.) Some commented when Tina Turner got less than Stevie Nicks what the rationale was and I think its bc Stevie is the main (or only) songwriter on the vast majority of her songs, including her biggest hits like Dreams, Edge of Seventeen, and Stand Back.

      If I was JT I would take the money and run, that seems like a great deal.

      • Becks1 says:

        just went and double checked, Stevie only got 100 million as well, can’t believe his catalog is worth as much as hers, but maybe JT thought the same thing so he got the money while he could, LOL.

    • February Pisces says:

      I think Bruce has released round 20 studio albums and JT has like 4-5 in 20 years. JT doesn’t put out that much music in comparison to other artists. So I don’t know if that determines the price.

  6. Mina_Esq says:

    Is it bad that I thought it was a bit low, considering the economic climate? His music is very marketable, in the sense that it lends itself to commercials and movies and such.

    • Concern Fae says:

      But is it worth 20% of Springsteen?

      We also have to ask here how much of the writing of these songs Timberlake did. It’s a well known secret that singers demand co-writing credit as part of the price for recording a song, even if they contributed nothing. So they get extra money and prestige, while songwriter’s income is reduced.

      Songwriting royalties are protected by law, as part of the copyright provisions. This is why they are so valuable. The record company can’t screw you out of them.

    • VivaAviva says:

      I thought it was pretty low, too. I would have expected $150-175m. The mileage they’re going to get out that song from Trolls is worth it at least that much.

      • LoryD75 says:

        Y Like someone said above, it’s possibly because he doesn’t own all the rights to the *NSYNC songs. His own catalogue is included but only a percentage of the *NSYNC catalogue is his to sell.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      No but as its him I think thats about right – he’s no Springsteen or Stevie Nicks (although he thinks he is). He’s not that great a songwriter and some of his best music has come from him working with some VERY talented producers and other writers.

  7. DrFt says:

    I think catalogs should be sold when you are still hot. Makes me wonder how much Beyoncé, Rihanna and Bieber catalogs are worth?

  8. pollyv says:

    I’ve never gotten the hype around JT. Sure he was cute in his boyband days, but what teenager isn’t? He quickly grew out of his looks and now, to me, is not in the least attractive. He is prone to problematic behaviour, including misogyny, and is music is meh. Oh well, to each his own.

  9. L says:

    As others have said 100 million is a lot of money, but I too thought it was quite low for JT. But good for him.

    • fritanga says:

      Have any other artists covered Timberlake songs? Singers have been covering Dylan, Springsteen and yeah, even James Taylor songs for yonks, on albums, for films, in live concerts, but I can’t imagine anyone thinks a Timberlake song is an art form which must be reinterpreted. So is his catalog valuable because it is in animated movies, or because it gets played as musak or on karaoke machines? I never hear his songs on the radio anymore, but maybe I live in the wrong part of the country. I’m surprised that anyone would pay even half that figure for Timberlake’s catalog.

      • L says:

        I only hear his music, or it’s just one song really (can’t stop the feeling?) when I drive to work that’s playing on one of the radio stations. ( I live in Norway) And I don’t think anyone have covered his songs in that way.. As for where the value comes from idk. Could be a combination of what you said.

  10. Gabby says:

    I really just can’t stand this guy. IMO he is one of the most overrated musicians of all time. The talent doesn’t match up to the hype.

    • fritanga says:

      What’s really hilarious is that he thought he’d make it as a leading man in the movies. He fully expected to get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for The Social Network, and was enraged when he didn’t. I knew it was over when he got the hair plugs. JFC.

    • fritanga says:

      What’s really hilarious is that he thought he’d make it as a leading man in Hollywood. He fully expected to get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for The Social Network, and was enraged when he didn’t (yeah, as if he’d get a nom before Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg, two actors who ran rings around him).

      I knew his “movie star” dreams were over when he got the hair plugs. JFC.

  11. Britney says:

    Justin & Jessica clearly need money for him to resort to this because none of his contemporaries would even think of doing this at his age! Backstreet Boys, Christina, Britney? Heck, I don’t think New Kids on the Block even resorted to this? I’ll never forget when he said Vegas was for hasbeens and then Britney, Xtina & BSB all went to Vegas and made a fortune! Now, here’s Justin – the only one selling off his catalog for a money grab. Big mistake. HUGE!

  12. Beach Dreams says:

    Count me in among the “surprised he didn’t get more money” crowd. You couldn’t escape his music in the 2000s. It’s not surprising that artists like Bruce, Tina, and Bob would sell their catalogs; they’re older and it makes sense for them to cash out at this point. Justin though…that’s a curious move.

  13. Blithe says:

    Must be nice. I’ll celebrate by listening to some vintage Motown.

  14. Nicole says:

    Why do I think he’s liquidating assets in anticipation for divorce? Am I just being cynical?

    • Charfromdarock says:

      That was my first thought too.

    • Tiffany:) says:

      It would be better to sell after the divorce. Any income he makes during the marriage would be part of shared property (unless prenup). I would think that all of the songs he wrote before marriage wouldn’t be used against him in a divorce anyway.

    • Liz Version 700o says:

      Ding ding ding I thought I was being overly suspicious.

  15. February Pisces says:

    I feel Justin is just about on the right side of being cancelled. It took like 17 years for his to finally get called out for the sh*t he did to Britney and Janet. I think people think he’s an A-hole, but hasn’t been caught doing anything truly awful yet. But Britney is free now and talking, and he’s probably sh*ting himself if she starts talking about him. Maybe he’s thinking he’s gotta cash in now before it’s too late.
    Plus the ‘cheating rumours, lack lustre Super Bowl half time show, his last album was forgettable too. He tends to have large gaps between albums, so I can never tell if he’s quit music or not. I can see him leaning more into acting though.

    I think the timing is right for him to sell up, he’s still young but with 20+ years under his belt. Plus I don’t know how popular his music will be in 10-20 years time, whether it will fade or if there will be a renaissance with the next generation.

    • Sans says:

      Yes, he must be well aware he is very unpopular esp after all the cheating rumours and the homeless person scandal. That’s prob why he’s selling?

  16. FilmTurtle says:

    I get why legacy musicians sell their catalogs; they just don’t want to oversee the management of all of that material anymore. And they’re probably getting their affairs in order for when they keel over, to avoid what happened with Prince and the like. I remember reading somewhere that Dylan wanted to make sure his kids were covered so there wouldn’t be any infighting.

    It’s a little odd for someone of JT’s age to sell the rights to his catalog, though. He won’t have any real say anymore if he disagrees with how his music is used or licensed. Like others have said, maybe he needs the cash.

    • Julia K says:

      Perhaps he does need the cash to divvy up marital property?

    • Yo says:

      Selling his catalog takes away the direct line of him profiting off of Cry Me A River. You best believe that that’s going to be covered in the book and that’s why he’s taking whatever profit he can go now because he’s about to ticketyTank Tank Tank popularity wise. He’s running for the hills and building his own music studio as we speak so that he can remove himself entirely from the industry that will no longer want him. But you know he sees Chris Brown doing just fine he knows if brown can recover from what he did he can too he’ll find a little niche among a certain type of fan. Specially among the people who don’t count emotional abuse as actual abuse. Like the Stepford wife he’s got

  17. ME says:

    Well the thing is he doesn’t really know if his catalogue will be worth more later or not. Get the money now. God knows what scandals and sh*t could affect a musician’s career. I think he did the right thing. He could invest that money and make it grow in other ways…or just f*cking chill and enjoy life.

  18. Scout123 says:

    I have heard that Justin is planning on building a large state of the art recording studio in their new location in Montana. A friend of ours lives Billings Montana in the music industry and shared this with us recently.

  19. Carrie says:

    I think Jessica Biel is one of the most beautiful women around.

  20. Tinydancer says:

    Jessica looks stunning. She was really good in the Sinner. I hope to see more of her.I hate him.

  21. Yo says:

    Tina Turner A musical pioneer and contributor to music as a whole gets 50 and this guy selling his bands songs and the Britney song that ruinedherlife and made him famous gets 100? Sounds about white. He did this so that he could say he’s not profiting off that song anymore like if anyone ever comes after him he’s got this whole deal that he’s talking about being totally not about that. Give me a break. He probably got all has bandmates to do agree so that no one could come after him and then they all got a cut

  22. Justwastingtime says:

    Good for him but still ugly inside and out (to me – but taste is personal of course).

  23. Jillie says:

    Ehhhh he’s really not that good so he’s doing quite well on that sale.

    He likely knows that his value will definitely decrease significantly over time