Classic Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing discussed the decision to sell his share of the royalty rights to 136 of the group’s songs, including all the classics.
As reported, the deal was made after the collapse of KK’s luxury golf course venture. According to administrators who handled the sale, the guitarist’s catalog share generates between $340,000 and $400,000 per year in royalties.
Downing told My Global Mind:
“I own my own personal rights to the songs. Obviously, there comes a time when large figures of money are involved, and there is a time to sell it.
“It’s like selling a classic car or some stocks when you are made an offer you can’t refuse and it seems like a good idea. There is no impact on the band. All those rights are personally owned by me and within my ownership rights to do what I want.
“It gets a bit scary when you get to my age. Lots of things have been happening to friends along the way. It seems to be happening weekly, like Vinnie Paul passing away. That was a hard thing to take as he was only in his 50s.
“I just had a call from a friend, Mantas from Venom, who had a massive heart attack and almost died on the table. Luckily, they were able to bring him around, and he is recovering.
“Don’t get me wrong – I can go past 100, but you never know what the deal is. I had the assets and wanted to release them to have some enjoyment with the money. I worked hard my entire life. I need to pay my bills, my debts, and something left for a good holiday like everyone else. [Laughs]
“In the industry, royalties have hit an all-time high this year. It’s quite simple – if you have a song worth a million dollars, you can get $60,000 a year from it, or you can take the million now.
“It depends on your age. If you add 10 years on to my age, I’ll be 77, and I can achieve $600,000 over the 10 years or sell it now for a million dollars. [Laughs] It’s a financial and mathematical equation that I let my accountants and doctors do for me. [Laughs]”