'It's a big task to celebrate the legacy': Warner's Dan Chalmers talks two more years of Bowie catalogue

'It's a big task to celebrate the legacy': Warner's Dan Chalmers talks two more years of Bowie catalogue

Fans around the world have been remembering David Bowie this week for both his birthday (he would have been 71) and the two years since his death.

As the Official Charts Company revealed that Bowie has sold more than five million singles and albums across all formats (including streams) since January 2016, it became clear that the catalogue campaign has brought his classic songs to a new generation as well as existing fans.

Warner Music’s Nigel Reeve has been a key figure in that campaign, which has become an increasingly important business for Rhino, headed up by president Dan Chalmers (along with East West and ADA).

“It’s an honour to work with [the catalogue] of such a legend,” Chalmers told Music Week. “We’ve had a long-term plan with Bowie that we’re kind of midway through. We’re working with his estate and obviously Nigel Reeve is instrumental in that and doing an incredible job.”

Warner Music also works closely with Bowie’s management at RZO on each step of the catalogue campaign, which has another two years to run.

Parlophone’s digital release this week of the Let’s Dance demo mixed by Nile Rodgers is one of many songs and album packages as part of a four-year celebration of Bowie. The OCC identified 14 new releases in the last two years, ranging from greatest hits to live recordings and anniversary picture discs.

Cracked Actor — Live in Los Angeles ’74, released last summer, has sold 11,706 copies to date — an impressive tally for a live album.

The February 2017 reissue of Diamond Dogs helped the classic set move 10,432 copies last year, while Station To Station was not far behind on 9,292 and Young Americans moved 8,749.

Of course, greatest hits packages have been the strongest performers since the death of Bowie. The November 2016 release Legacy sold 138,160 last year, while total sales are approaching 250,000.

“It’s a big task to celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest musicians of all time but I think we’re doing that in the right way,” said Chalmers. “All of the releases that we’ve put to market have been received incredibly well by the fans. I think it’s been done in a really respectful way too. There’s plenty of other releases to come through this year and the year after, so I think everybody’s very happy with the way we’re celebrating such an amazing artist.”

To revisit our Bowie tribute from January 2016 click here.

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