David Bowie's estate sells music rights for whopping multi-millions

New York, New York - David Bowie’s estate is starting off 2022 with a nice chunk of change, just in time for what would have been his 75th birthday.

The estate of David Bowie, one of the most influential and revered musicians of the 20th century, has sold the rights to his music for a whopping $250 million.
The estate of David Bowie, one of the most influential and revered musicians of the 20th century, has sold the rights to his music for a whopping $250 million.  © Collage: 123RF/ alisafarov & IMAGO/Eastnews

The estate of the late iconic and influential British singer has sold his global music publishing rights to Warner Chappell Music for over $250 million, as first reported by Variety.

The nine-figure sale covers songs such as Starman, Heroes, Ziggy Stardust, Changes, Space Oddity, Fame, Let's Dance, and Rebel Rebel, along with music from his 26 studio albums released between 1968 and his death in 2016.

The deal also includes the rights to Toy, Bowie’s posthumous album to be released this Friday - one day before what would have been his 75th birthday.

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"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," WCM co-chair and chief executive Guy Moot said in a statement.

"These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever."

He added: "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."

The new sale completes the rights to Bowie's entire catalogue

A David Bowie Pop up shop located at 150 Wooster Street in New York City has been created to celebrate Bowie's 75th birthday, and will be open for a limited time until late January.
A David Bowie Pop up shop located at 150 Wooster Street in New York City has been created to celebrate Bowie's 75th birthday, and will be open for a limited time until late January.  © Collage: Imago/ZUMA Wire

The sale further entrenches Bowie’s music into the Warner Music Group ecosystem.

Last September, WMG bought the rights to Bowie’s recorded music from 2000 to 2016, after the company already owned his recordings from 1968 to 1999.

Widely considered one of music’s most influential figures, David Bowie is one of the world’s bestselling artists, with more than 100 million records sold in his lifetime.

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A multi-instrumentalist who produced much of his own work, he proved his ability to reinvent himself through his alien alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, his dance-pop persona, and various other iterations.

On January 10, 2016, Bowie died of liver cancer at his home in New York at age 69.

Entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman, representing the Bowie estate, 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."

Bowie’s sale continues the trend of rock and roll’s elders selling off their catalogs in blockbuster deals.

Last month, Bruce Springsteen sold the rights to his recording and publishing catalogs to Sony Music Entertainment for a record-breaking $500 million.

In 2020, Bob Dylan sold his songwriting catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for at least $300 million.

Other artists who have recently sold their publishing rights include Stevie Nicks, James Brown and Paul Simon.

Celebrations are currently ongoing on what would have been his 75th birthday week.

Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/ alisafarov & IMAGO/Eastnews

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