Sting has become the latest elder rocker to cash in his songwriting catalog, selling his back output to Universal Music for a reported $300 million.
In doing so, the 70-year-old Sting joins several such recent sales by artists, including Sony buying Bruce Springsteen’s songwriting catalog and recorded music copyrights for an estimated $550 million in December. Earlier last year, David Bowie’s estate sold his publishing catalog to Warner Chappell Music for $250 million.
Sting’s catalog includes hits like “Roxanne,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “Message in a Bottle,” songs written for his solo career and for The Police. Universal Music already owns his recorded music catalog.
The copyrights to more than 600 songs and future royalties on the catalog are included.
“I am delighted to have Jody and the team at UMPG curate and manage my song catalog,” Sting said in a news release, referring to Universal Music Publishing Group CEO Jody Gerson. “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.”
Major music conglomerates are scrambling to purchase artists’ catalogs as streaming music becomes more common. In December, Sony acquired Bruce Springsteen’s songwriting catalog and recorded music copyrights for an estimated $550 million. Earlier last year, David Bowie’s estate sold his publishing catalog to Warner Chappell Music in a deal worth upward of $250 million.
Sting’s music has been sampled by stars like Nas, The Roots, 2Pac and French Montana.
“Shape of My Heart” was sampled in Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams,” which has over 1.8 billion streams on Spotify alone.
“I could never have imagined that someday I would get to lead a company that will be the guardian of Sting’s remarkable songwriting legacy,” Gerson said in a statement. “Every one of us at UMPG looks forward to this work with a sense of honor, responsibility and enormous excitement about what we can achieve for his music in the future.”