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Music

Kiss Sells Catalog, Brand Name and IP. Gene Simmons Assures fans it is a ‘Collaboration’

It’s never really the end of the road for Kiss. The hard rock quartet have sold their catalog, brand name and IP to Swedish company Pophouse Entertainment Group in a deal estimated to be over $300 million, it was announced Thursday.

This isn’t the first time Kiss has partnered with Pophouse, which was co-founded by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus. When the band’s current lineup — founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons as well as guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer — took the stage at the final night of their farewell tour in December at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, they ended by revealing digitized avatars of themselves.

The cutting-edge technology was created by George Lucas’ special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, in partnership with Pophouse. The two companies recently teamed up for the “ABBA Voyage” show in London, in which fans could attend a full concert by the Swedish band in their heyday, as performed by their own digital avatars.

The ways in which Kiss’ avatars will be utilized has yet to be announced, but Pophouse CEO Per Sundin says fans can expect a biopic, a documentary and a Kiss experience on the horizon.

An avatar show is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2027 — but don’t expect it to look anything like “ABBA Voyage,” Sundin told the AP. And fans can expect it to kick off in North America.

Sundin says the goal of the purchase is to expose Kiss to new generations — which he believes sets Pophouse apart from other acquisitions of music catalogs.

“The record companies, the three big ones that are left, they’re doing a fantastic job, but they have so many catalogs and they can’t focus on everything,” he says. “We work together with Universal (Music Group) and Kiss, even though we will own the artists rights, and we’re doing it in conjunction with Kiss. But yes, we bought all rights, and that’s not something I’ve seen that clear before.”

“I don’t like the word acquisition,” Gene Simmons tells the AP over Zoom, assuring the band would never sell their catalog to a company they didn’t appreciate.

“Collaboration is exactly what it’s about. It would be remiss in our inferred fiduciary duty — see what I just did there? — to the thing that we created to abandon it,” he continued. “People might misunderstand and think, ‘OK, now Pophouse is doing that stuff and we’re just in Beverly Hills twiddling our thumbs.’ No, that’s not true. We’re in the trenches with them. We talk all the time. We share ideas. It’s a collaboration. Paul (Stanley) and I especially, with the band, we’ll stay committed to this. It’s our baby.”

And within that: no more live touring, for real. “We’re not going to tour again as Kiss, period,” he says. “We’re not going to go put the makeup on and go out there.”

Kiss are Pophouse’s second investment outside of Sweden: In February, Cyndi Lauper entered a partnership with the company which including the sale of the majority share of her music and a new immersive performance project she’s calling an “immersive theater piece” that transports audiences to the New York she grew up in.

The aim is to develop new ways to bring Lauper’s music to fans and younger audiences through new performances and live experiences.

“Most suits, when you tell them an idea, their eyes glaze over, they just want your greatest hits,” Lauper told the AP at the Pophouse headquarters in Stockholm in February. “But these guys are a multimedia company, they’re not looking to just buy my catalog, they want to make something new.”


By MARIA SHERMAN AP Music Writer

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