In a deal announced Monday by Warner Chappell Music (Warner’s music publishing subsidiary), it was revealed that David Bowie’s estate had sold his entire songwriting catalog to the company. This includes hits such as “Space Oddity,” “Ziggy Stardust,” and “Let’s Dance.”
Guy Moot, co-chair and chief executive of Warner Chappell, said in a statement that “Bowie’s vision and creative genius drove him to push the envelope, lyrically and musically—writing songs that challenged convention, changed the conversation, and have become part of the canon of global culture.” Carianne Marshall, Warner’s co-chair and chief operating officer, echoed Moot’s praise of Bowie’s work, stating, “This isn’t merely a catalog, but a living, breathing collection of timeless songs that are as powerful and resonant today as they were when they were first written.”
The agreement with Warner Chappell Music comes after the company acquired licensing rights to Bowie’s recorded music catalog last year. This new deal encompasses 26 studio albums and more than 400 songs Bowie put out while he was alive. Warner now has ownership of Bowie’s entire body of work as both a songwriter and recorded performer.
Although details of the acquisition were not disclosed, Variety reported Bowie’s estate sold for “a price upwards of $250 million.” The sale of Bowie’s catalog isn’t that surprising, especially when seeing other legends in music (such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Stevie Nicks) selling either their entire catalog or parts of it. On behalf of Bowie’s estate, Allen Grubman expressed, “We are truly gratified that David Bowie’s body of music will now be in the capable hands of Warner Chappell Music Publishing. We are sure they will cherish it and take care of it with the greatest level of dignity.”