Hip-hip veteran Coolio not only left behind his catchy rhymes but also music that is estimated to bring in royalties of more than $6 million.
Coolio, who was born Artis Leon Ivey, Jr., died on Sept. 28, 2022. After going into cardiac arrest, the 59-year-old “Gangsta’s Paradise” artist was found unresponsive on a friend’s bathroom floor. No cause of death has been determined, but the artist, said family, suffered from severe asthma.
Considered one of the pioneers of West Coast rap, Coolio had a number of hit songs, including “Fantastic Voyage.” And these hits have left behind a financial legacy.
While there has been no reporting on Coolio’s will or if he had one, his songs are expected to bring in millions.
What Does This Mean in Dollars
Coolio, who was worth $1.5 million at the time of his death, announced in 2013 he was selling his music catalog to fund his dreams of becoming a chef, The Guardian reported. The catalog went on the auction block for an estimated $134,000 to $224,000. The sale doesn’t seem to have happened, but his recordings have been owned by Reservoir Media since June 2021, when the company bought Tommy Boy’s catalog. Coolio’s recordings generate about $2.6 million in annual revenue; and nearly $1 million a year in publishing revenue. Coolio had been signed to Tommy Boy Music.
“If Coolio still owned his publishing, a catalog that generated about $100,000 annually would be worth about $2 million at a 20-times multiple,” reported Billboard.
While the 2013 sale did not take place, in 2016 a Royalty Exchange auction for what was described as the publishing of classic songs performed by Coolio did move forward. The rights were described as worth over $7,000 in annual royalties, generating 13 bids and a closing price of $41,000, but, according to Billboard, it is not clear if these rights were being sold by Coolio or one of his many co-writers.
“At a blended rate of a 25% royalty for both streaming and sales, minus distribution and production fees, his recorded music royalties would be about $500,000,” reports the outlet. “At a 12-times multiple, they would be worth about $6 million.”
What’s in the Catalog
The Coolio catalog includes eight studio albums with over 100 songs, with “Gangsta’s Paradise” being his biggest song.
That track has generated nearly 80 percent of Coolio’s 258,000 global song downloads over the last four years, Billboard reported.
Coolio’s second biggest song is “Fantastic Voyage,” followed by “1,2,3,4 (Sumpin’ New).”