- 16 Dec 21
"It is a straightforward financial deal," one music industry insider told Hot Press.
Bruce Springsteen has sold his entire masters catalogue to Sony Music in a combined deal worth around $500million (€442m).
According reports issued by Reuters, the sale gives Sony ownership of The Boss' entire back catalogue which includes 20 studio albums, 300 songs, 7 EPs, 23 live records and more. The deal also includes the sale of the coinciding music publishing rights to Sony Music Publishing.
Springsteen signed with Sony Music’s Columbia Records in 1972, but acquired ownership of his music as an incentive to to re-sign with the label in the late 80s or early 90s. Early last month it was reported that Springsteen was in negotiations with Sony to sell his album catalog while simultaneously shopping around his publishing catalog, which was previously owned by Universal Music Publishing Group.
"It is a straightforward financial deal," one music industry insider told Hot Press. “If the rights generated $15milllion for Bruce Springsteen last year, then that would represent a 3.33% return on an investment of $500million – which is far better than having your money sitting in a bank at the moment.
“There is, of course, an element of a gamble involved for Sony Music – will Bruce Springsteen songs continue to generate royalties at the same rate over the next 30 years? But record companies – or music companies – are getting much better at exploiting back catalogue. Streaming has created a long tail, where people go back and explore historic music. Plus there is potential in documentaries, in musicals – and all of that focused activity. So it is almost certainly a very good investment – but it is also one that makes sense from Bruce Springsteen’s perspective, and from the point of view of his estate, as well."
According to the RIAA, Springsteen has achieved more than 65.5 million album sales in the U.S. alone. In addition to the $15 million in revenue in 2020 from his album catalogue, he also earned an estimated $7.5 million per year from the publishing catalogue, and more than $840 million from touring between 2010 and 2019.
Proposed increases in capital gains taxes in the US is one reason why many artists are considering selling their back catalogues, as well as the possibly staggering profits generated by their sale. Iconic musicians Bob Dylan and Neil Young have sold their back catalogues to Universal Music Group in multi-million dollar deals this year, while Paul Simon, Stevie Nicks and Tina Turner have also made similar deals with the likes of Sony Music and BMG.