Pink Floyd song catalogue sale reportedly threatened by band infighting

Pink Floyd circa 1973
(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives)

In August, The Financial Times reported that that a number of bidders including private equity group Blackstone plus music publishers Sony, Warner, BMG and Primary Wave, were in negotiations to purchase Pink Floyd's copyrights, and that a deal was expected within a few weeks. 

Now, the same publication has suggested that the purchase may be in danger, with delays caused by months of disagreement between band members over the deal's tax structure and – more recently – bassist Roger Waters’ stance over the war in Ukraine. 

According to the FT, one insider said the deteriorating relationship between the band members had “made it impossible” to negotiate, while another claimed the band “never need an excuse to disagree”. A third source said that the negotiations had been “as difficult as it is possible to be."

Last week, Waters told Rolling Stone that his stance over the War in Ukraine had led to his name being out on a hitlist, where he is accused of "Anti-Ukrainian propaganda" and "participation in attempts to legalise the annexation of Crimea by Russia."

"Don't forget, I'm on a kill list that is supported by the Ukrainian government," said Waters. "I'm on the fucking list and they've killed people recently."

In August, Waters told CNN's Michael Smerconish, "This war is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn't do when [Mikhail] Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe."

Back in April, Waters' former colleagues in Pink Floyd released the band's first new music since 1994, with proceeds from the single Hey Hey Rise Up going to Ukraine Humanitarian Relief.

In December, Bruce Springsteen sold his songs and publishing to Sony for a reported $500 million (£376 million), joining Bob DylanNeil YoungBlondiePaul SimonStevie Nicks and David Crosby amongst the ranks of those who've recently sold the rights to their song catalogues.  

The 2018 remix of Pink Floyd's Animals was released last month.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.