David Bowie’s Estate Sells Music Catalog for Whopping Amount

by Victoria Santiago

David Bowie’s estate has struck a deal with Warner Music Group’s publishing branch, Warner Chappell Music Publishing. His estate is selling his entire music catalog to Warner. The catalog sold for more than $250 million. Additionally, Warner licensed the worldwide rights to Bowie’s catalog. This is the latest in a string of catalog deals done by big names. Recently, ZZ Top, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan have all sold their catalogs to publishing groups.

Bowie’s catalog contains over six decades worth of music. Of course, it includes hits like “Space Oddity” and “Ziggy Stardust.” This deal has taken place during the estate’s Bowie 75 celebration. The late singer’s 75th birthday would’ve been this Saturday, January 8th. His estate is celebrating Bowie’s life by releasing a posthumous album.

Bowie 75 is more than just the release of another album, though. It will include reimagined hits, never-before-seen videos, and limited edition merch and memorabilia. The best of Bowie’s work will be proudly displayed for fans young and old to enjoy. In all, Bowie 75 will give us two studio albums from “Tin Machine,” the album “Toy,” and other music that was previously only released as singles from movies and other projects.

“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,” Warner Chappell CEO Guy Moot said.

Bruce Springsteen Sells His Music Catalog for Record Amount

So many big deals are occurring because investors have access to more money. The pandemic led to lower interest rates for businesses, which allowed them to borrow more money for big purchases. Plus, the demand for streaming music has led to higher royalties thanks to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Now is the time for artists to strike up deals with publishing companies.

Although David Bowie’s catalog sold for no paltry amount, Bruce Springsteen’s sold for more. Sony Music bought the rights to his entire publishing catalog, along with his masters. He raked in more than $500 million from the deal, which is the most that any single artist has gotten for their catalog. This beats out the previous record sale price of $400 million set by Bob Dylan and Universal.

Bruce Springsteen has been signed to Sony Music’s Columbia Records since 1972. However, in the 90s he gained ownership of his own music during contract renegotiations. Before Sony was lucky enough to snap up his catalog, there was a bidding war on Springsteen’s music. Sony and Universal bid against each other to buy the icon’s music. The cost of his catalog was originally $350 million. As we can see, their bidding war drove the price up quite a bit. The deal includes rights to 20 studio albums and 23 live LPs. Overall, there are more than 300 songs in his catalog.