Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing spoke to Myglobalmind about his decision to sell his share of the royalty rights to 136 of the band’s tracks, including classic songs “Breaking The Law”, “Living After Midnight” and “Painkiller”, to Round Hill Music. The deal was made following the collapse of his luxury golf course venture.
The rights, which consist of Downing‘s publishing and writer’s share, and his artist royalties from the master recordings, were put up for sale earlier this year after a number of his U.K. leisure businesses were placed into administration (similar to Chapter 11 insolvency in the U.S.).
According to administrators FRP Advisory LLP, who handled the rights sale, Downing‘s catalog share generates between $340,000 and $400,000 per year in royalties.
Downing told Myglobalmind: “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,” he continued. “Lots of things have been happening to friends along the way. It seems to be happening weekly, like Vinnie Paul [PANTERA] 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,” Downing added. “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 ten years on to my age, I’ll be 77, and I can achieve $600,000 over the ten 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]”
K.K., who is a founding member of the British heavy metal legends and was part of the group since 1969, announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011.
He later shot down as “inaccurate” reports that he left JUDAS PRIEST because he chose to concentrate on running the golf courses on his property.
This past February, Downing said that he was “shocked and stunned” that he wasn’t approached to rejoin JUDAS PRIEST following Glenn Tipton‘s decision to retire from the road due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Downing‘s autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest”, will be released on September 18 via Da Capo Press. The book was co-written by the Scottish author and journalist Mark Eglinton, whose previous collaborations include “Official Truth, 101 Proof” with Rex Brown of PANTERA and “Confessions Of A Heretic” with BEHEMOTH‘s Adam “Nergal” Darski.