He really is The Boss
Hundreds of millions
Fruitful relationship with Sony
Tina Turner sells her song catalogue to BMG
A multimillion-dollar transaction
A best-selling artist
Warner outbid by BMG
Why did she do it?
It's capitalism, my friend
Red Hot Chili Peppers: how many millions?
From Blondie to Neil Young to ...
Merck Mercuriadis, song buyer
Taylor Swift's songs: a huge price
Universal owns the Bob Dylan songs
David Crosby, another icon of the 60s who sold out
A source of income during the pandemic
A way to retire
The phenomenon is not new
Other artists who sold their catalogues
The Beach Boys sold themselves entirely
It's a market like any other
Michael Jackson bought the Beatles songs
Sell your songs to make a living from music
Invest in the future
Please don't stop the music
Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(1/25)
He really is The Boss

If anyone ever asks why they call this man 'The Boss', you only need to tell them about the deal he just signed.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(2/25)
Hundreds of millions

Bruce Springsteen has made an agreement with Sony, selling them all the rights to his music. The deal amounts to a total of 442.5 million dollars, Billboard magazine reports.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(3/25)
Fruitful relationship with Sony

Sony, where the musician released his entire catalog, thus takes over a discography that includes legendary albums such as 'Born in the USA' and 'The River'. Obviously, he is not the only star who has taken the path of selling his musical legacy during his lifetime.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(4/25)
Tina Turner sells her song catalogue to BMG

Another great pop star who sold her artistic legacy was Tina Turner. The rights to her songs (copyright, exploitation, image, etcetera) have been acquired by the label BMG. The question is, for how much did she sell them?

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(5/25)
A multimillion-dollar transaction

The price of Tina Turner's music catalogue has not been disclosed. However, in the music industry they are talking about "the largest commercial operation of its kind so far". If that is true, Tina Turner has surpassed the record of Bob Dylan who reportedly got 300 million dollars for his catalogue. The figure of Dylan's sale was never confirmed either.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(6/25)
A best-selling artist

The octogenarian Tina Turner was a best-selling star when records were still the main source of income for musicians. Many media estimate her record sales to 100 million.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(7/25)
Warner outbid by BMG

She sold them partly together with Warner, and she will continue to work with them although they were unable to outbid competitor BMG for the rights.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(8/25)
Why did she do it?

Tina Turner has explained her move in a statement: "As for any artist, protecting my life's work, my musical legacy, is a personal endeavour." However, it's economic reasons that drive most sales of songs - in Tina Turner's case as well as in others. It's a recent boom of catalogue sales: Shakira, Bob Dylan, Crosby, and others.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(9/25)
It's capitalism, my friend

The great songs of pop history have become valuable assets for venture capitalists. Investors compete to hold the rights to the most important musical works, and artists of all kinds, like the legendary Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, sell their songs for millions of dollars. They are part of a list of stars who stepped away from their catalogues for a lot of money.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(10/25)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: how many millions?

To get an idea of what a good catalogue costs, here is the figure that Red Hot Chili Peppers charged for their songs: 140 million dollars. The band sold them to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a music IP investment and song management company that owns the works of 50 great artists.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(11/25)
From Blondie to Neil Young to ...

Hipgnosis Songs Fund holds the rights to the songs of classics such as Neil Young and Blondie (in the image) but also those of more recent stars like 50 Cent, Enrique Iglesias, Kaiser Chiefs, The B52s, and Timbaland.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(12/25)
Merck Mercuriadis, song buyer

The owner of the Hipgnosis Songs Fund is the Canadian Merck Mercuriadis. At the age 19, he began working at Virgin's Toronto headquarters. Currently, he owns the rights to more than 60,000 songs. This means that he gets the profits of every cent that these songs generate, for example when they are played on Spotify or appear in commercials, TV series, or movies.

(Image: Jill Furmanovsky / rockarchive, Wikimedia)

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(13/25)
Taylor Swift's songs: a huge price

But it's not just the Hipgnosis Songs Fund that hunts for hunting for pop star catalogues. According to the Financial Times, the venture capital fund Shamrock Capital bought Taylor Swift's songs for $ 300 million.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(14/25)
Universal owns the Bob Dylan songs

The New York Times reported that Bob Dylan sold all his creations to Universal for an estimated amount of 300 million dollars. The market gives the same value to Taylor Swift as it does to Bob Dylan.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(15/25)
David Crosby, another icon of the 60s who sold out

David Crosby, an iconic 1960s star whose songs with the band Crosby, Still, Nash & Young are hymns of the hippy era, also sold his catalogue. In this case the songs went to Iconic Artist Group.

 

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(16/25)
A source of income during the pandemic

The pandemic has accelerated the song sales process. There are no concerts and there is no income for pop stars. To cover the losses, artists are accepting bids on their songs and the profits they may bring.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(17/25)
A way to retire

For some musicians it is a way to get money to be able to retire. Paul Simon withdrew from the stage for good and decided to sell his songs to Sony.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
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The phenomenon is not new

The acquisition of the rights to the songs of rock and pop stars is not a new phenomenon. In 2006 Courtney Love sold half of the rights to Kurt Cobain's songs to Primary Wave Music Publishing.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(19/25)
Other artists who sold their catalogues

Primary Wave Music Publishing owns (partially or entirely) the catalogues of Def Leppard, Chicago, Katrina & The Waves, Steve Earle and Steven Tyler (image).

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(20/25)
The Beach Boys sold themselves entirely

In the case of the Beach Boys, the sale went beyond the songs. The mythical surf pop group has sold not only its catalogue but also its name and its brand's exploitation rights to Iconic Artist Group. This means that any T-shirt or other appearance of the Beach Boys will bring profits to Iconic - and not to any of the Beach Boys or their families.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(21/25)
It's a market like any other

Song catalogues have been discovered as a product that can be traded in the same way as stocks, raw materials, or other assets. Songs go up and down in price, and each catalogue can be sold and resold to make a profit.

(Image: Nick Chong / Unsplash)

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(22/25)
Michael Jackson bought the Beatles songs

It was a historical moment when Michael Jackson bought the rights to the songs of The Beatles in 1985. He paid 47 million dollars for them. Back then, that price was considered immense and excessive, but when you look at the values of iconic stars' catalogues today, Michael Jackson seems to have gotten a bargain.

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(23/25)
Sell your songs to make a living from music

Living from music is difficult when there are no concerts. Record sales are no longer a relevant source of income, and the benefits from Spotify, YouTube or other streaming services are small. Unless millions and millions of people play a song on Spotify, it won't generate a significant profit. Therefore, certain established artists see the sale of their catalogue as a way to make money again.

(Image: Austin Neill / Unsplash)

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
(24/25)
Invest in the future

And how about new stars and their music? Just as the record companies have bargained to get a percentage of the profits of artists' tours, there may be clauses in future contracts stating that whoever invested in an emerging artist gets the rights of the songs. These are the tough rules of capitalism.

(Image: Naioa Shizuru / Unsplash)

Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others who reap millions selling their music rights
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Please don't stop the music

In any case, the most important thing is that the music doesn't stop. After the pandemic, concerts will return. Artists will once again earn the essential income to pay for their mansions or their modest apartments - whichever applies to a musician at the top or on their way to it.

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