Back in November, reports suggested that Sting was in talks to sell his catalog to Sony Music Publishing (SMP) or Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). Now, the former Police frontman has officially cashed in on his music IP with a reportedly $300 million UMPG deal.
Universal Music Publishing Group unveiled its latest multimillion-dollar catalog buyout this morning. The transaction covers the entirety of the 70-year-old’s solo releases as well as all his projects with The Police, and UMPG emphasized that the deal will unite Sting’s “song catalog with his recorded music catalog under” the overarching Universal Music Group banner.
After arriving on the music scene with The Police’s Outlandos d’Amour (1978), on which he penned hits like “Roxanne” and “So Lonely,” Sting released four additional albums as part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group.
On these four albums, the 17-time Grammy winner is likewise the sole songwriter of 1979’s “Message in a Bottle” (287.10 million Spotify plays), 1980’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” (110.30 million Spotify plays), 1981’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (220.61 million Spotify plays), and 1983’s “Every Breath You Take” (1.09 billion Spotify plays).
As a solo artist, Sting has released 15 studio albums, the newest of which, The Bridge, became available to fans in mid-November of 2021. These projects include Sting-penned tracks such as 1987’s “Englishman in New York,” 1993’s “Shape of My Heart,” and 1999’s “Desert Rose.”
As mentioned at the outset, UMPG reportedly paid somewhere around $300 million for Sting’s song rights, according to The Wall Street Journal – the same amount that the major-label publishing division reportedly spent on Bob Dylan’s catalog.
Meanwhile, last month saw Warner Chappell finalize a reportedly $200 million deal for the publishing catalog of David Bowie, and Sony Music acquired Bob Dylan’s recordings – after dropping an estimated $500 million on Bruce Springsteen’s music IP in December.
Addressing his UMPG agreement in a statement, Sting said in part: “It is absolutely essential to me that my career’s body of work have a home where it is valued and respected – not only to connect with longtime fans in new ways but also to introduce my songs to new audiences, musicians and generations.
“Throughout my career, I have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with UMG as my label partner, under the watchful guidance of Lucian, so it felt natural to unite everything in one trusted home, as I return to the studio, ready for the next chapter,” finished the Wallsend, England, native, who’s set to continue his Las Vegas residency in June.
The past two or so weeks have brought multimillion-dollar catalog sales involving Alice in Chains, Murda Beatz and Bryson Tiller, Luis Fonsi, Def Leppard, and Travis Tritt. Plus, KKR earlier this week created a $1.13 billion music-rights bond backed by interests in tracks from The Weeknd, Stevie Nicks, and others.