David Bowie Estate Sells Publishing Catalog to Warner Chappell Music

After months of negotiations, the David Bowie estate sold the singer’s formidable publishing catalog to Warner Chappell Music for more than $ 250 million, sources confirmed to Variety and NBC News.

The catalog spans six decades and includes songs such as “Heroes”, “Changes”, “Space Oddity”, “Fame”, “Let’s Dance”, “Rebel Rebel”, “Golden Years”, “Ziggy Stardust” , “All the Young Dudes”, his 1981 collaboration with Queen “Under Pressure” and hundreds more.

The deal includes songs from David Bowie’s 26 studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous release of the studio album “Toy”, which comes out Friday. It also includes Tin Machine’s two studio albums, as well as songs released as singles from soundtracks and other projects.

The chord brings almost all of Bowie’s music into the Warner system. Last September, the estate announced a global partnership with Warner Music which will bring together the vast catalog of recorded music of the late artist from 1968 to 2016 under the aegis of the company; the deal includes Bowie’s albums from 2000 to 2016, which were originally released through Sony Music.

The announcement of the post comes amid the “Bowie 75” celebration, surrounding the late singer’s 75th birthday on Saturday. The campaign also includes pop-up stores in New York and London and the November release of the “Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001)” box set and, Friday, her unreleased album “Toy”, featuring re-recorded versions of songs. relatively obscure dating from the beginning of his career; although this album is available in the box, it will be released separately on Friday.

In November, Variety announced that a new Bowie film drawn from thousands of hours of rare performance footage, most of which had yet to circulate, was in its final stages and could premiere as early as the Film Festival. from Sundance later this month. Brett Morgen, director of “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” “Jane” and “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” has been working on the project for four years, sources say, with longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti. . Music director.

The move is the latest in a large series of contracts signed by Warner Chappell, which includes catalog contracts with Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Quincy Jones, Anderson .Paak, Saweetie and the George Michael estate, among others.

In a statement to NBC News confirming the news on Monday, Warner Chappell Music Co-Chairman and CEO Guy Moot said, “All of us at Warner Chappell are extremely proud that David Bowie’s estate has chosen us to be the custodians. of the most revolutionary, influential and enduring catalogs in the history of music. These are not just amazing songs, but milestones that forever changed the course of modern music. Bowie’s vision and creative genius pushed him to push the boundaries, both lyrically and musically, by writing songs that defied convention, changed conversation and were now part of the canon of global culture. His work spans massive pop hits and experimental adventures that have inspired millions of fans and countless innovators, not just in music, but across the arts, fashion and media. We look forward to serving his unparalleled body of songs with passion and care as we strive to build on the legacy of this most extraordinary human being.

“I want to thank everyone involved in making this wonderful case happen,” Moot continued, “including Bill Zysblat, Tom Cyrana and the entire Bowie team at RZO, attorney Allen Grubman and the firm, as well as our own ‘Bowie Team’ made up of fellow Warner Chappell Alice Aleksandrovich, Steve Butler, Michael LoBiondo and David Woirhaye.

WCM Co-President and COO Carianne Marshall said, “This fantastic pact with David Bowie’s estate opens up a world of opportunity to take his amazing music to dynamic new places. It’s not just a catalog, but a living, breathing collection of timeless songs that are as powerful and resonant today as they were when they were first written. We are delighted that the estate believes that Warner Chappell has the knowledge, experience and resources to take the reins and continue to promote a collection of this caliber. All of our global leaders and departments are incredibly excited and ready to work with these brilliant songs across multiple avenues and platforms. And with both sides of WMG now representing Bowie’s career, we couldn’t be better organized to represent this illustrious body of work.

On behalf of David Bowie Estate and RZO, Allen Grubman added, “We are truly delighted that all of David Bowie’s music is now in the capable hands of Warner Chappell Music Publishing. We are sure that they will cherish it and take care of it with the highest level of dignity.

Bowie, who died of cancer in January 2016, was keen to keep control of his work and routinely picked up spurious recordings and other elements of his career whenever they became available. Although his estate owns his catalog from 1968 onwards, his first officially released material – a series of singles and an eponymous album from 1967, all of which are vastly inferior to his classic work – is outside the Warner Agreement, although ironically, many of the songs from this era appear in new versions on “Toy”.

The deal is the latest in an era that has seen song catalogs skyrocket to previously unimaginable values, with Bruce Springsteen’s publishing and recorded music rights going to Sony by a staggering number according to sources. roughly $ 500 million, Bob Dylan’s edition going to Universal for almost $ 400 million, Paul Simon to Sony for $ 250 million, and many more. While selling song catalogs might seem unthinkable to many songwriters, for older artists it is actually a wise estate planning decision: – and earns them a big pile of money at the place.

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