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Warner Music acquires David Bowie’s songs catalogue for $250 million

By | Published on Tuesday 4 January 2022

David Bowie

The first big music rights acquisition of the year has already been confirmed. Warner Chappell has acquired the David Bowie songs catalogue in a deal reportedly worth in the region of $250 million. It follows Warner Music’s deal last year around Bowie’s recordings and means the mini-major now controls the vast majority of the musician’s music.

“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 catalogues in music history”, the publisher’s CEO Guy Moot said yesterday. “These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever”.

Last September, Warner Music announced a deal in relation to Bowie’s recorded music output post-2000, it already controlling his recordings from 1968 to 1999. Rumours that the Bowie estate was also in talks to do a deal in relation to his songs catalogue began to circulate shortly after. A price tag around $200 million was initially touted, although sources have told Variety that the final deal was worth more like $250 million.

Confirming that deal, Warner stated: “[This] landmark deal includes Bowie’s entire body of work, encompassing hundreds of songs spanning the iconic artist and songwriter’s six-decade career. The agreement comprises songs from the 26 David Bowie studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous studio album release ‘Toy’. It also includes the two studio albums from Tin Machine, along with tracks released as singles from soundtracks and other projects”.

Meanwhile, Moot continued: “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”, the Warner Chappell chief concluded.

Commenting on the deal on behalf of the Bowie estate, Allen Grubman said: “We are truly gratified that David Bowie’s body of music will now be in the capable hands of Warner Chappell Music Publishing. We are sure they will cherish it and take care of it with the greatest level of dignity”.