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K.K. Downing's royalty rights to 136 Judas Priest songs have been sold

K.K. Downing and Rob Halford in 2005 © REX/Shutterstock

K.K. Downing's share of royalty rights to 136 Judas Priest songs have been sold to a private equity company.

According to Billboard, Round Hill Music has acquired a significant stake in the heavy metal legends’ back catalogue after former guitarist K.K. Downing was plunged into financial disarray when his luxury golf resort fell into administration.

New York based Round Hill Music, which specialises in investing in music copyrights, now owns K.K.’s share of classic tracks including ‘Breaking The Law’, ‘Painkiller’ and ‘Living After Midnight’.

The company has yet to release an official statement confirming the acquisition, however Billboard says the sale is already complete.

Having won the bidding, their rights consist of Downing's publishing and writer's share, and his artist royalties from the master recordings.


K. K. Downing at his ill-fated golf resort in 2011 © REX/Shutterstock

K.K. pumped millions into the 320-acre Astbury Hall estate in Shropshire, however it was put up for sale for £10million last year with administrators citing "tougher economic times within the wider corporate hospitality market" for placing "unsustainable pressure" on the business.

FRP Advisory partners Alastair Massey and Steve Stokes were appointed as administrators over three companies related to K.K.’s ill-fated venture.

In May, they announced they were selling a share of the back-catalogue owned by Ken Downing Limited, which currently generates an estimated £250,000 to £300,000 a year in royalties.

Alastair Massey commented at the time: “Ken Downing was a founding member of Judas Priest, and was one of the driving influences of the band’s work up to his departure in 2011.

“As part of the administration process we are selling the rights owned by Ken Downing Limited to 136 tracks, which provide a unique investment opportunity.”

After 42 years with Judas Priest, K.K. Downing quit the band in April 2011 citing "an on-going breakdown in working relationships between myself, elements of the band and management.”

In February of this year he released a statement on Facebook saying he was “shocked and stunned” that he wasn’t invited to rejoin Judas Priest when Glenn Tipton announced his retirement from touring due to the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

This prompted a backlash from Rob Halford, who called the comments “completely superfluous.”

In April K.K. announced a new rock night called K.K.’s Steel Mill at Starworks Warehouse in Wolverhampton, which will showcase the finest up-and-coming and established rock and metal bands around.

Earlier this year, Round Hill Music acquired independent music publishing conglomerate Carlin Music and their catalogue of over 100,000 titles for $245million. Notable songs in the catalogue include AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ and Yes’s ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’.

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