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David Bowie’s Catalog Sold to Warner Chappell Music for $250 Million

David Bowie’s Catalog Sold to Warner Chappell Music for $250 Million

WCM now owns the publishing rights to Bowie’s songs—a massive collection that spans six decades

David Bowie wearing a beret

David Bowie, 1970 (Keith MacMillan © The David Bowie Archive)

Warner Chappell Music has acquired the global music publishing rights to David Bowie’s song catalog. WCM and the estate of David Bowie announced the news earlier today (January 3). According to a report by Variety, the catalog was purchased for “upwards of $250 million.” The deal has been in the works for several months, and comprises songs from Bowie’s 26 studio albums, his recent posthumous release Toy, both Tin Machine LPs, and one-off singles from soundtracks and other projects. Bowie’s catalog spans six decades, and includes hundreds of legendary recordings such as “Changes,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Heroes,” “Space Oddity,” “Golden Years,” “Blackstar,” and many more. According to The New York Times, the collection includes over 400 songs.

The acquisition follows WCM’s 2021 agreement with the Bowie estate and Warner Music Group, through which WCM licensed global rights to Bowie’s recording catalog starting at 1968. WMG now hosts Bowie’s work as a recording artist and songwriter.

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

WCM co-chair and CEO Guy Moot added:

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. 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.

Revisit “The Man Who Fell to Earth Is More Than David Bowie Playing Himself” on the Pitch.

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