Earlier this week, reports suggested that the David Bowie estate was in talks to sell the “Space Oddity” creator’s songwriting catalog for $200 million. Now, Bruce Springsteen is reportedly looking to liquidate the entirety of his own catalog in a deal with Sony Music.
The 72-year-old singer-songwriter’s rumored IP sale with Sony Music currently involves both his recorded and publishing catalogs, according to Billboard, which cited anonymous sources with knowledge of the ongoing discussions. But different sources yet relayed that the publishing catalog “might still be in play” — that is, available to parties besides Sony — notwithstanding reports that the Big Three record label is already poised to purchase New Jersey-born Springsteen’s recorded catalog.
In any event, it goes without saying that the transaction with SME – whether it covers Springsteen’s recorded and publishing catalogs or solely the former – is set to deliver a multimillion-dollar windfall for the 20-time Grammy winner (and 50-time nominee). Springsteen, who has likewise bolstered his net worth with an undoubtedly expensive Spotify podcasting deal and the return of his long-popular Broadway show, released his 20th studio album (and his first with the E Street Band since 2014) in October of 2020.
More broadly, Bruce Springsteen – who settled a decades-old “Thunder Road” lyric dispute over the summer – is negotiating the sale of his music IP as billions of dollars continue to reach the space. A large number of artists are moving to cash in on their song rights, and in terms of agreements involving the major labels and/or their publishing companies, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, David Guetta, and Madonna alike have sold their catalogs since the end of 2020.
But Sony, Universal, and Warner are hardly the only entities that have been shelling out tremendous sums for catalogs. UK-based song-investment fund Hipgnosis (whose execs were reportedly gunning for the Bob Dylan IP before UMPG swooped in), Primary Wave, BMG (which inked a deal with Tina Turner while acknowledging that “Warner Music continues to be her record company”), Round Hill, Reservoir, Concord, Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group, Eldridge Holdings, Shamrock Capital, and others have also gotten in on the action.
This abundance of companies that are looking to buy publishing IP could explain why Bruce Springsteen’s rumored agreement with Sony Music is reportedly experiencing a delay on the songwriting side. At the time of writing, though, neither the “Dancing in the Dark” songwriter, co-producer, and vocalist Springsteen nor Sony Music higher-ups had commented publicly on the matter.
In one of many testaments to the continued popularity of catalog releases – or music that became available to fans more than 18 months ago – Sony Music this week upgraded Pink Floyd’s albums to 24-bit audio.