David Bowie’s estate sells rights to ‘entire body of work’ in multimillion dollar deal

Jan 04, 2022
The deal is the latest in a series of major acquisitions by various companies of the catalogues of pop artists. Source: Getty

David Bowie’s estate has sold the publishing rights and catalogue of songs, including Space Oddity, Changes, and Let’s Dance to Warner Chappell Music (WCM) in a deal worth, according to Variety worth “upwards to $250.”

The agreement means WCM now owns songs from 26 studio albums released during Bowie’s lifetime. In a press release, WCM Co-Chair and CEO Guy Moot say they are “proud” to be “chosen as caretakers.”

“These are not only extraordinary songs but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever… 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,” he said.

David Bowie inspired millions of fans, not only in music but across all the arts, fashion, and media. Source: Getty

This type of deal would allow the publishing company to receive income from royalties, as well as when the music is licensed for use in films, TV and advertising. 

The terms of Bowie’s deal have not been disclosed, but historically, the Bowie estate has closely controlled the use of his work. In the 2020 biopic Stardust, which centres around the birth of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona, the Bowie estate had forbidden the film from using the singer’s music. 

Entertainment lawyer, Allen Grubman, who also represents the Bowie estate, spoke on the estate’s behalf to say they “truly gratified that David Bowie’s body of music will now be in the capable hands of Warner Chappell Music Publishing.” 

WCM now owns the rights to six decades worth of beloved songs. Source: Getty

Expressing that they believe WCM will “cherish” and take care of Bowie’s work “with the greatest level of dignity.”

WCM Co-Chair Carianne Marshall says they are “pleased that they estate felt that Warner Chappell has the knowledge, experience and resources to take the reins and continue to promote a collection of this stature.” 

The rock legend died from liver cancer on January 10, 2016, just two days before his 69th birthday. According to The DailyMail celebrations are currently ongoing for what would be his 75ht year. 


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