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David Bowie’s estate has sold the singer’s entire publishing catalog to Warner Chappell Music.
As part of the deal, WCM has acquired the global music publishing rights to hundreds of songs across Bowie’s six-decade career, including “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Life on Mars?,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Starman,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Fame,” “Young Americans,” “Golden Years,” “Heroes,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “Modern Love,” “Let’s Dance,” “Where Are We Now?” and “Lazarus.”
The agreement includes songs from the 26 studio albums released during Bowie’s lifetime in addition to the posthumous studio album Toy, which will be released Friday.
The deal also includes the two studio albums from Tin Machine, along with tracks released as singles from soundtracks and other projects.
Warner Chappell declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, but sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the agreement is worth around $250 million.
“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 CEO Guy Moot said. “These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever. 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 deal with WCM follows the announcement last year of a global, career-spanning agreement between Warner Music Group and the Bowie estate through which Warner Music has licensed worldwide rights to Bowie’s recorded music catalog from 1968. With this new deal with Warner Chappell, WMG is now home to Bowie’s body of work as both a songwriter and recording artist.
Said WCM co-chair and COO Carianne Marshall: “This fantastic pact with the David Bowie estate opens up a universe of opportunities to take his extraordinary music into dynamic new places. This isn’t merely 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.”
On behalf of the David Bowie Estate and RZO, attorney 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.”
The news comes as “Bowie 75,” a celebration of the singer, kicks off this month with pop-up stores in New York and London. Jan. 8 would have marked his 75th birthday.
Bowie died Jan. 10, 2016, at age 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer.
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