Big Money Generator: Yes Sell Recorded Music Catalog to Warner Music Group

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New deal covers prog rock outfit’s first 12 studio LP — including hits like Fragile and 90125 — as well as live albums and compilations

Prog rock pioneers Yes have sold the rights to their recorded music catalog to Warner Music Group, Variety reports. 

The deal covers the rights to Yes’ first 12 studio albums, from their 1969 self-titled debut to 1987’s Big Generator. A smattering of live albums and compilations — from 1972’s Yessongs to 2019’s Yes 50 Live — are also included. No financial terms were disclosed. 

Yes broke through in the early Seventies with hits like “Your Move” and “Roundabout,” which appeared on platinum-selling albums like The Yes Album and Fragile. A second, arguably bigger commercial peak came in 1983 with the release of their 11th album, 90125, which spawned major hits like “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Leave It,” and “It Can Happen.” Big Generator, the last studio album covered in the deal, also boasted a Number One hit on the rock charts, “Love Will Find a Way.”

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In a statement, Yes said of the new deal, “The entire Yes family came together and worked enthusiastically with Warner Music Group to secure this historic deal, ensuring that these iconic recordings will continue to be curated in the optimum manner to delight their fans across more than five decades, while also finding and developing new audiences for this timeless music.”

While so much of the music catalog acquisition boom over the last few years has centered around publishing rights, the new Yes deal is one of a growing number of sales centered around way more lucrative recorded music rights. Though publishing can yield solid revenues over time, especially from sync licenses, recorded music rights are more directly tied to things like streams, downloads, and album sales.

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