MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sun Records hit paydirt in the 1950s with a string of made-in-Memphis hits by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and others. But how much are those old songs worth these days?
An estimated $30 million, according to the New York Times and other sources Thursday. That’s reportedly how much music publisher Primary Wave Music recently paid to buy the rights to the Nashville-based music label Sun Records catalog, logo, brand and other assets including a restaurant.
Not included in the deal were Elvis Presley’s recordings, which are owned by Sony.
Sam Phillips opened Memphis Recording Service at 706 Union Avenue in 1950, producing a string of R&B and rockabilly hits, including what some believe to be the first true rock ‘n roll record.
Sun Studio is still open, but the Memphis operation is separate from the record label, which was sold and moved to Nashville in the late 1960s.
Primary Wave bills itself as “the leading independent publisher of iconic music in the world,” representing artists from Aerosmith and Ray Charles to the Stax Records guitarist Steve Cropper. The company posted the Times article on the deal to its website Thursday.