Music majors buy all the music rights of a well-known artist to make profitable and sustainable income. Bowie by Warner, Sting by Universal Music and Springsteen by Sony Music.
The rights holders of David Bowie and Sting have sold all their musical rights (recording rights and publishing rights) for around 300 million dollars. The record is attributed to Bruce Springsteen with a 500 million deal.
If artists at the end of their careers or the beneficiaries of deceased artists find it of great interest, the 3 musical majors, all listed on the Stock Exchange, see in these deals a lucrative economic model since the advent of all digital and streaming. . They deal well-known music to TV series and films (synchro), to video games and to international music streaming platforms.
If this market exists, it is because today's music lovers listen to fewer new releases than in the 1980s. Two-thirds of them listen to titles that are at least two years old (source MRC Data). It must be said that marketers are very good at putting together playlists by theme or rankings of “best titles”…
Another proof that the market is on the rise, investment funds such as KKR or Blackstone have also bought the publishing or reproduction rights of titles by well-known artists. And the specialist Merck Mercuriadis (former agent of stars) even created a company, Hipgnosis, on the same economic model which went public in 2019, with artists like Blondie or Bruno Mars.
Publishing and/or recording rights, of several titles or of all the titles of an artist: the 3 majors have acquired everything for the 3 stars Bowie, Springsteen and Sting. Madonna meanwhile is about to sign with Warner.