Sting sells his music catalog to Universal Music Group for $250 million

Sting is the latest rock star to cash in on his music catalog, striking a deal to sell it for around $250 million.

The British-born singer has sold his publishing and recorded music catalogs – including hits with The Police such as “Roxanne”, “Every Breath You Take” and “Message In a Bottle” – to Universal Music Group, the biggest record label in the world, which represents Taylor Swift, BTS, Kanye West and Billie Eilish,

As part of the deal, UMG will take over Sting’s entire portfolio, which, in addition to his work with The Police, includes 15 studio albums released between 1985’s debut album “The Dream of Blue Turtles” and his more recent, “The Bridge”, released in November 2021.

Financial terms were not given, but informed sources put the sale at around $250 million. The deal also compensates Police guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland for songs where they share songwriting credits, according to a UMG spokesperson.

The deal closes the loop on earlier reports that UMG was in talks to reclaim Sting’s music, which includes hits like “Walking On the Moon,” “Spirits In the Material World” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”.

“It’s absolutely essential to me that all of my career work has a home where it’s valued and respected – not only to connect with long-time fans in new ways, but also to introduce my songs to new ones. audiences, musicians and generations,” Sting said. .

The sale of Sting’s music catalog follows a recent trend of legendary artists, like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, cashing in.
Getty Images for Caesars Enterta

UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge added, “We are honored that in choosing UMPG for its music publishing, Sting’s body of work as a songwriter and recording artist – from the police to their solo work – will all be part of the UMG family.”

This marks the continuation of a trend of a long line of established artists selling their songbooks to investors or big-money music labels. They’re also fueled by streaming, which offers the possibility of more lucrative royalties as customers flock to services like Spotify and Apple Music.

And transactions have intensified during the coronavirus pandemic in part because of low interest rates that make it easier for companies to borrow money to buy big assets.

Sting’s music will remain with Universal Music Group, his house label for his entire career,
Getty Images

While artists get a big day’s pay, music labels get the rights to master the work of legendary musicians.

In recent months, David Bowie’s estate sold its music catalog for $250 million to Warner Chappell Music, the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, and late last year ZZ Top sold its catalog. musical to investment firm KKR and record label BMG for $50 million. Just weeks before Bruce Springsteen sold his iconic song and publishing catalog to Sony Music for a whopping $500 million.

Meanwhile, last year, Bob Dylan sold his massive 600-song catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for $300-400 million in December 2020. Around the same time, the songwriter -Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks has sold 80% of his rights to his own songwriting catalog, including hits like “Landslide” and “Edge of Seventeen”, to music publisher Primary Wave for a fee of $100 million.

Universal Music Group (UMG) logo seen seen on a smartphone and PC screen.
Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record label, purchased Sting’s publishing and recording music catalog for approximately $250 million.
SOPA/LightRocket images via Gett

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