It was reported last year that members of the rock band Pink Floyd were seeking to make a big sale of their catalog for somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million. But unlike many other such sales by top music acts and recording artists, the deal appears to have stalled. According to a recent Variety report, the deal is currently on hold but still a future possibility, and the trouble is that members of the band, mainly Roger Waters and David Gilmour, “just can’t get along.”
Sources differ on whether the deal is “basically dead” or “still on the table,” but it seems clear that the longstanding feud between Gilmour and Waters is getting in the way of closing a deal that satisfies all the surviving members of the band. Another potential complication comes from the outspoken political statements made by Waters, although given his history as an artist and public figure the prospect that such statements would actually lower the value of the Pink Floyd catalog might seem questionable. But at least one prospective corporate buyer of the catalog is reported to have dropped out of negotiations citing Waters’s political statements, and, his criticisms of Israel recently led to a concert in Frankfurt, Germany getting canceled, so there seems to be something to the idea.
Then there’s the not-so-simple matter of reaching an agreeable business arrangement for not just Gilmour and Waters but Floyd drummer Nick Mason and the estates of Richard Wright and Syd Barrett. As one source put it to Variety:
“It’s not just that it’s personal — those things extend to business. There were certain [long-term band associates] that one member felt were too close to another member, so they’d have to spend weeks finding someone else they could all agree on, situations like that.”
Another possibility is that everyone involved has decided to wait until some of the Waters-centric controversies have died down to resume negotiations in the hopes of getting a more favorable deal. “It’s one of the most valuable music catalogs of the past 50 years,” said one source concluded. “Will it be worth as much in two or five years — or worth even more? Sure. They can afford to wait.”
In addition to the band’s string of hits and always lucrative merchandising rights, the Pink Floyd archives are reportedly full of material from the band’s commercial peak in the 1970s (including albums “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall”), that could be worth a fortune to whoever manages to close the catalog deal and release it to the band’s famously devoted fan base. Given all that, it should only be a matter of time before such a deal gets closed. But don’t expect it to happen too soon.