Warner Chappell Music has acquired the global music publishing rights to David Bowie’s song catalogue.
The deal includes David Bowie’s entire body of work, encompassing hundreds of songs spanning the iconic artist and songwriter’s career, including Space Oddity, Life on Mars?, Starman, Rebel Rebel, Fame, Young Americans, “Heroes”, Ashes to Ashes, Let’s Dance, and many more.
The agreement comprises songs from the 26 David Bowie studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous studio album release, Toy. It also includes the two studio albums from Tin Machine, along with tracks released as singles from soundtracks and other projects.
The deal was reportedly worth more than $250 million, although there has been no official confirmation. Bowie's songs were previously represented by several different publishers, including Sony Music Publishing, BMG, Kobalt and Chrysalis.
This agreement with WCM follows the announcement last year of a global, career-spanning agreement between Warner Music Group and the Bowie estate through which Warner Music has licensed worldwide rights to Bowie’s recorded music catalogue from 1968. With this new deal with Warner Chappell, WMG is now home to Bowie’s body of work as both a songwriter and recording artist.
In making the announcement, WCM co-chair and CEO Guy Moot said: “All of us at Warner Chappell are immensely proud that the David Bowie estate has chosen us to be the caretakers of one of the most groundbreaking, influential, and enduring catalogues in music history. These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever.
“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. His work spanned massive pop hits and experimental adventures that have inspired millions of fans and countless innovators, not only in music, but across all the arts, fashion, and media. We are looking forward to tending his unparalleled body of songs with passion and care as we strive to build on the legacy of this most extraordinary human being.”
“I’d like to thank everyone involved with making this wonderful deal happen,” Moot continued, “including Bill Zysblat, Tom Cyrana, and the entire Bowie team at RZO, attorney Allen Grubman and firm, as well as our very own ‘Team Bowie’ made up of Warner Chappell colleagues Alice Aleksandrovich, Steve Butler, Michael LoBiondo, and David Woirhaye.”
WCM co-chair and COO Carianne Marshall said: “This fantastic pact with the David Bowie estate opens up a universe of opportunities to take his extraordinary music into dynamic new places. This isn’t merely a catalogue, but a living, breathing collection of timeless songs that are as powerful and resonant today as they were when they were first written.
“We were pleased that the estate felt that Warner Chappell has the knowledge, experience, and resources to take the reins and continue to promote a collection of this stature. All of our global leaders and departments are incredibly excited and primed to get to work with these brilliant songs across multiple avenues and platforms. And with both sides of WMG now representing Bowie’s career, we couldn’t be better set up to represent this illustrious body of work.”
On behalf of the David Bowie Estate and RZO, Allen Grubman added: “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.”