Bowie’s sale is the latest of several high-priced catalog deals.

Bowie’s sale is the latest of several high-priced catalog deals.

Warner Chappell Music Inc. has acquired the song catalog of late musician David Bowie.
 
The downtown-based company announced Jan. 3 that it completed a deal for the music publishing rights to almost all of Bowie’s body of work, including 27 studio albums, two albums by British-American rock group Tin Machine, which Bowie fronted, and hundreds of songs from his six-decade-long career. According to Variety, the artist’s estate sold the material for $250 million.

 
Arriving just ahead of what would be the late singer’s 75th birthday, the announcement follows months of negotiations first reported in October by Financial Times. Just a month prior, Bowie’s estate announced a global partnership with Warner Music for his recorded-music catalog from 1968 to 2016 — including Bowie’s albums from 2000 to 2016 , which were originally released by Sony Music Entertainment — hinting to industry experts that this deal was imminent.

 
“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 Music Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Guy Moot said. “These are not only extraordinary songs but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever.”


Warner Chappell Co-Chairwoman and Chief Operating Officer Carianne Marshall added, “This fantastic pact with the David Bowie estate opens up a universe of opportunities to take his extraordinary music into dynamic new places. We were pleased that the estate felt that Warner Chappell has the knowledge, experience and resources to take the reins and continue to promote a collection of this stature.”


Bowie died in January 2016 after an 18-month battle with cancer. The artist’s estate began its “Bowie 75” celebration in November  with the release of “Brilliant Adventure,” a box set collecting his work from 1992 to 2001, including the unreleased album “Toy,” for which he and members of his touring band recorded new versions of his early songs, including some that were not included in this catalog deal. “Toy” was released individually the day before his Jan. 8 birthday.

 
The artist had only released two full length albums of new material between 1994 and 2016, but his painstaking efforts to create an archive of his musical achievements in the final years of his life have produced a reissue series that not only continues after his death but serves as a standard-bearer for artists to preserve and protect their legacies.


Bowie’s is far from the only estate to procure a high-price-tag sale for its songwriting archives in recent months. The deal follows a string of high-profile catalog acquisitions by Warner Chappell, including for Quincy Jones, Bruno Mars, Cardi B and George Michael. The George Michael estate just renewed its deal with the publishing company in December.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.