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Bruce Springsteen Sells Music Rights to Sony

(New York) The giant Sony Music confirmed on Thursday evening that it had purchased all of the musical rights of “Boss” Bruce Springsteen, a record contract of half a billion dollars according to the press, and the latest transaction to date among the rockstars seized of a frenzy of sales of their catalogs.

Updated Dec 16. 2021

Nicolas REVISE
France Media Agency

In a statement from New York, “Sony Music Group announced that it has acquired all of Bruce Springsteen’s recorded music catalogs and compositions through two separate” agreements.

Without disclosing the amount, the record company clarified that “the two agreements covered the musical rights of all Springsteen songs as Born to Run, Born In The USA, Dancing in the Dark […] and I’m On Fire “.

The information was revealed Thursday morning by the American magazine Billboard and the New York Times, which spoke of a record sum of 500 million dollars for this contract between the “Boss” and the Japanese group.

150 million records

Springsteen, immensely popular in the United States and abroad, has sold more than 150 million records in half a century while remaining faithful since 1972 to his label Columbia Records, in the bosom of the Japanese multinational Sony.

“For the past 50 years, the men and women of Sony Music have treated me with the utmost respect,” the 72-year-old artist said in the statement. “I am delighted that my legacy continues to be protected by a company and people that I know and trust,” he said.

Holding catalog rights – which allow you to earn royalties for each use of a song, whether it is a download, a passage in a film or an advertisement – ​​can prove to be very profitable on the long term.

Consequence of COVID-19

Experts note that since 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, major maneuvers have been in full swing for the acquisition of music rights, in particular with the streaming revolution: the financial markets are fond of these “portfolios” of artists considered timeless and generating stable revenue streams.

Springsteen is the latest star to sell all or part of his musical catalog via transactions with astronomical amounts but never officially confirmed.

In October, 81-year-old Tina Turner sold her music rights to German band BMG for an undisclosed sum.

The 2016 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Bob Dylan, 80, sold his entire catalog to Universal Music last December for an estimated windfall of $300 million. Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks reportedly got $100 million for his majority share of the band’s back catalog.

American-Canadian singer Neil Young and two members of the group Blondie have also signed agreements for unspecified amounts, as has Shakira.

“Sold”

According to industry experts, catalog price increases started before 2020, but the amounts really spiked with the pandemic when artists found themselves deprived of tours and concerts.

Among the companies at the forefront of these catalog sales: the British investment company Hipgnosis Songs Fund, listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2018, Primary Wave, which signed with Stevie Nicks, and investment funds like Tempo Investments , Round Hill and Reservoir.

Hipgnosis, led by Merck Mercuriadis, ex-manager of Elton John or the hard rock band Iron Maiden, pointed out in its 2020 report that catalog revenues were decorrelated from the upheavals of the financial markets. People are “always consuming music” and, thanks to streaming, “almost always paying for it,” the company wrote in January.

Sometimes accused on social networks of being “sold” to the music industry, artists are on the contrary defended by music specialists.

Already wealthy, Springsteen “is not sold”, disputes the consultant Alan Cross in the online review A Journal of Musical Things. For him, “Bruce just gets an advance on his income, money he would have received after his death” and that he will be able to invest “in whatever he wants to […] him, his family and his heirs”.

“By selling (his catalog) to Sony, he knows they will keep his music alive for decades to come,” he concludes.

In the catalog sold by Springsteen, artist marked on the left, there is also a very political work released in October: Renegades: Born in the USAa book and podcasts of conversations with former President Barack Obama.

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