Who gets Elvis Presley’s royalties? Does Lisa Marie own Elvis’ music?

ELVIS PRESLEY made a huge amount of music in his career - but who gets the royalties after his death?

PUBLISHED: 22:19, Tue, Sep 8, 2020 | UPDATED: 22:19, Tue, Sep 8, 2020

Elvis Presley died in 1977, after which his estate was to pass to his daughter, Lisa Marie, on her 25th birthday. Before then, it was managed by executors of the will, including his father, grandmother and ex-wife Priscilla. On Vernon and Minnie Mae’s death, their amounts of the will went to Lisa Marie, who owned the trust – but did she own the music?


Sadly for Lisa Marie, her inheritance never included the royalties to the many songs of Elvis Presley’s which were recorded.

This was due to a poor deal negotiated by Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, which meant all future royalties were signed away.

When Elvis started his career in 1954, he recorded at Sun Records in Memphis.

He signed a contract which meant Sam Phillips, the own and producer at Sun Records, owned all of his recordings made there.

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Elvis Presley - does Lisa Marie own her music?Elvis Presley - does Lisa Marie own her music? (Image: Getty)

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However, Sam sold this contract and the catalogue of songs made at Sun Records to RCA, a record company, in late 1955, after which Elvis remained under contract to RCA.

He received an artist’s royalties on record sales, which were part of the contract he had negotiated.

However, in March 1973, Colonel Tom and Elvis went to RCA, suggesting Elvis be given a lump sum in lieu of all future artist’s royalties for anything recorded up to that time.

Of course, by 1973, Elvis had quite the back catalogue to work with, meaning this would have earned RCA a huge amount of money.

The deal was done, and RCA paid Elvis and Colonel Tom $5.4million (£4.2m) for the artist royalties, which was then split equally between the two men.

Colonel Tom Parker with Elvis PresleyColonel Tom Parker with Elvis

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