Kiss Sells Music Catalog, IP to ‘ABBA Voyage’ Creators Pophouse With Eye Toward Digital-Performance Future

A biopic, an avatar show, and a Kiss themed experience are already planned in deal Gene Simmons insists is a “collaboration”

Kiss in Los Angeles 2020
Getty Images

Their touring days are behind them, but Kiss may have a digital future on stage.

The hard rock quartet sold their catalog, brand name and IP to Pophouse Entertainment Group, the Swedish company behind the digital “ABBA Voyage” show in London.

The catalog deal, reportedly for about $300 million, comes fives months after founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons ended the band’s final live show at Madison Square Garden by revealing digitized avatars of the band, with the virtual Kiss breaking out into a performance of “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” to pull the curtain down on “The End of the Road” tour.

“This groundbreaking partnership will enable Pophouse to further develop and amplify the unique Kiss legacy worldwide: preserving their iconic music, enigmatic personas, and expressive imagery for generations to come,” the company said in a release.

“Plans for a biopic, an avatar show, and a Kiss themed experience are already in the works,” the statement said. “Kiss will remain active and play key roles in the development of the projects, working closely together with Pophouse.”

The avatars were created by George Luca’s Industrial Light & Magic in partnership with Pophouse, The Associated Press reported. Pophouse was founded by Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus.

Pophouse CEO Per Sundin told the AP the Kiss avatar show, which would kick off in North America, would not resemble the Abba show. The iconic Swedish band’s digitized performance has sold more than 2 million tickets and is reportedly bringing in about $2 million per week for the iconic Swedish band.

Sundin said the goal is to introduce the “Detroit Rock City” performers to a new generation, which he said makes Pophouse different from other companies that have been scooping up the catalogs of musicians from Bob Dylan to Justin Bieber in recent years.

“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 told the AP. “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.”

“I don’t like the word acquisition,” Simmons told the AP, maintaining that the “Rock and Roll All Nite” performers would not 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,” Simmons continued. “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.”

Simmons did our “Cold Gin” on the idea that there could be another live tour.

“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.”

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