A few weeks ago, Bruce Springsteen’s masters and publishing rights were sold to Sony Music for an astronomical $500 million in what Billboard said “may be the biggest deal in music for an individual body of work.” So, to pretty much anyone besides Bruce Springsteen, the reportedly more than $250 million that David Bowie’s catalogue netted is an impressive number.
Today, Variety reported that David Bowie’s estate has indeed sold the Starman’s vast catalogue to Warner Chappell, following months of negotiations. Bowie, whose immersive Bowie 75 museum you can now visit in London and New York City, released 26 studio albums across six different decades. Everything from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars to Young Americans to Blackstar is included in the deal. Even the posthumous Toy, which will be released this Friday, is included.
Warner Chappell Music Co-Chair and CEO Guy Moot issued a statement on the significant purchase:
“All of us at Warner Chappell are immensely proud that the David Bowie estate has chosen us to be the caretakers of one of the most groundbreaking, influential, and enduring catalogs in music history. These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever. Bowie’s vision and creative genius drove him to push the envelope, lyrically and musically — writing songs that challenged convention, changed the conversation, and have become part of the canon of global culture. His work spanned massive pop hits and experimental adventures that have inspired millions of fans and countless innovators, not only in music, but across all the arts, fashion, and media. We are looking forward to tending his unparalleled body of songs with passion and care as we strive to build on the legacy of this most extraordinary human being.”
Warner Chappell has been on an acquisition spree as of late, securing the publishing rights to the catalogues of Quincy Jones, Cardi B, George Michael, and others. But this one is a different kind of big and it likely indicates that unconventional experiences like Bowie 75 and other unearthed recordings (like on the Toy box set) will be on the horizon.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.