Sources tell Variety that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band has started a new venture called Worldwired Music IP Fund with Burnstein and former Morgan Stanley investment banker Paul Donahue.
The group, which apparently also includes former Fender president/COO Matt Janopaul and former Sony/ATV co-president Rick Krim, will have between $300 million and $500 million to spend on intellectual property, with a focus on music publishing, particularly classic rock catalogs.
One artist owning the publishing rights to other artists’ catalogs is not unprecedented, as Michael Jackson famously owned the publishing rights to the majority of the Beatles catalog for many years after outbidding Paul McCartney himself in 1985.
While the fund is named after the band’s recent long-running tour, Metallica are not leading the investment group, but are a significant partner along with Burnstein, reports Variety.
Metallica have proven to be shrewd businessmen in terms of music rights, as the band assumed control of their master recordings in 2012. That same year, they started their own record company, Blackened Recordings, that they run with Burnstein’s Q Prime management company.
However, Metallica have also had some financial misses in recent years, with their Orion Music + More festival and Through the Never movie reportedly losing millions of dollars.
The legendary metal act seems to have more than made up for those losses with their “Worldwired Tour” and other successful outings over the years. Last year, Pollstar made the case for Metallica as the “biggest all-time touring band,” having grossed roughly $1.2 billion in ticket sales over their career.
In addition to seeking out new investments, Metallica are currently working on a follow-up to their 2016 album, Hardwired … To Self-Destruct. The band members have been sharing files over Zoom and email during the pandemic, with bassist Robert Trujillo recently saying they’re “excited about cultivating new ideas.”