David Bowie's estate sells entire catalogue to Warner

Publishing rights to late rocker's 'entire body of work' sold for a reported $250 million

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David Bowie's estate sold the publishing rights of the late musician's "entire body of work" to Warner Chappell Music, the company said on Monday.

Warner Music did not disclose the price tag of the deal, but entertainment publication Variety reported it probably cost upwards of $250 million.

The deal includes hundreds of songs spanning Bowie's six-decade career, his 26 studio albums and the posthumous studio album Toy.

"These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever," Warner Chappell Music co-chairman and chief executive Guy Moot said.

"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."

The new deal means Warner now houses Bowie's work as a songwriter as well as a recording artist.

Warner Music Group has handled much of Bowie's recorded catalogue since 2013, last year adding his recordings from 2000 to 2016 to the fold.

The announcement comes days before Bowie's birthday on January 8, when he would have turned 75, as well as the sixth anniversary of his death on January 10.

The English rock star died in 2016, two days after releasing his album Blackstar. The album won three Grammy awards in 2017.

The sale of his publishing rights is part of a frenzy of similar deals as financial markets are increasingly drawn to lucrative music portfolios as an asset class.

Bruce Springsteen's publishing and recorded music rights recently went to Sony for a staggering $500m, with Bob Dylan also selling his full publishing catalogue to Universal for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Paul Simon and Neil Young are also among the list of artists who have cashed in on their life's work, either in part or entirely.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

Updated: January 04, 2022, 7:41 AM
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