The David Bowie Estate is reportedly in talks to sell the artist’s catalog to Warner Music Group (WMG). Previously, WMG held the rights to Bowie’s music released between 1968 and 1999, following the 2013 acquisition of the Parlophone Label Group.
The terms of the deal are still under negotiation but have reportedly attracted a bid of $200 million with WMG overseeing Bowie’s most iconic albums. These records include The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Let’s Dance, Heroes, Hunky Dory, and Aladdin Sane.
In 2023, Bowie’s albums Heathen, Reality, The Next Day, and Blackstar, originally released via Sony Music, will fall under the Warner Music umbrella. If a deal is met now, WMG would own the rights to the artist’s entire collection, including music released from 2000 through Blackstar, Bowies’ final album before his death in 2016. A 1967 self-titled album and several singles are the only work by Bowie that won’t be managed by Warner Music Group moving forward.
Multimillion-dollar music acquisitions have been expanding exponentially since 2020. Major labels like Universal Music Group have acquired the catalog of Aerosmith ahead of the band’s 50th anniversary.
BMG recently paid Tina Turner $50 million to acquire her share of her recordings, the rights to her name, image, and likeness. To date, BMG also represents or owns rights to the works of artists including John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Kurt Cobain, Blondie, The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards, Mick Fleetwood, Roger Waters, Scorpions, The Kinks, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and more.
In July, WMG acquired the 12Tone music catalog, which features performers like Dolly Parton and Anderson .Paak. Warner also recently finalized a deal with Madonna that covers the entirety of her nearly 40-year catalog of music.
Photo by Steve Schapiro.