(CelebrityAccess) – “The Boss” isn’t the boss of his music any longer as he sells his masters and publishing rights to Sony Music for about $500 million, according to Billboard magazine. Springsteen has been with Sony’s Columbia Records for the entirety of his 50-year career and has owned the rights to his recordings, until now. This deal would be the most expensive to date, as reported by The New York Times. It includes the 15-times platinum album Born in the U.S.A. and 5-times platinum, The River with classics like “Born in the USA”, “Glory Days”, and “Dancing in the Dark”.
Springsteen is in esteemed company as many huge names have sold off their catalog rights in recent years. Shakira, Neil Young, Imagine Dragons, Stevie Nicks and Bob Dylan, whose deal was upwards of $300 million, to name a few. David Bowie’s estate recently sold his recorded catalog to Warner Music Group in September and is currently in talks to sell his entire songwriting catalog with a price tag of $200 million.
Why are so many artists selling off the rights to the music they put their blood, sweat, heart, and tears into? Well, money of course. In selling their catalogs, they’re letting go of any future revenue from their life’s work but at astronomical prices setting up themselves and family for the future. COVID-19 halted touring in a big way as most artists make their money by hitting the road. The current climate seems to be, if you can’t tour, then you sell.
Seasoned artists in the business may see selling as their “last goodbye” as they fade from the industry with almost guaranteed future financial security. However, Springsteen’s popularity doesn’t seem to be waning as his 30-show June re-opening of Broadway sold out within one hour. As private equity firms and music industry staples gobble up these catalogs while paying millions, is it a TRUE financial investment? Eventually, everything becomes outdated, tired, and forgotten. Only time will tell if in the future, “everything old becomes new again”.