BMG to release first David Bowie film officially sanctioned by his estate

BMG is releasing a new film about David Bowie called Moonage Daydream, which it describes as “a definitive new portrait” of the late star.

The documentary, written, directed, edited, and produced by filmmaker Brett Morgen, is the first David Bowie film to be officially sanctioned by his estate.

BMG says that the film, including its title track Moonage Daydream, draws extensively on Bowie’s 1970 to 1977 song catalog, in which BMG has a 25% stake.

BMG came to own its 25% stake in the Bowie song catalog when it acquired independent publisher Chrysalis back in 2010 for $168.6 million, a deal in which BMG also bought interests in songs by Michael Jackson and Blondie.

The company says that its relationship with the Bowie catalog is “unaffected” by Warner Music Group‘s recent acquisition of the Bowie song catalog.

Warner acquired all Bowie’s song rights owned by the Bowie estate in January for more than $250 million.  MBW understands that another rightsholder, UK-based Bucks Music Group, retains a piece of the publisher’s share. WMG owns the writer’s share.

Bowie’s catalog includes hits like Changes, Starman, Ziggy Stardust, The Jean Genie, All The Young Dudes, Life on Mars, Rebel Rebel, Fame, Young Americans and Golden Years.

According to BMG, filmmaker Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture, Cobain: Montage of Heck, Jane) has “synthesized David Bowie’s music and art into a sublime kaleidoscopic experiential cinematic odyssey that explores Bowie’s creative, spiritual, and philosophical journey”.

BMG says that the film will show never-before-seen footage, performances, and music, and is guided “exclusively by Bowie’s narration”.

Moonage Daydream features 47 musical tracks, mixed from their original stems, with Bowie’s long-time collaborator and friend Tony Visconti serving as the film’s music producer.

Moonage Daydream is the first film in a multi-picture deal between Brett Morgen and BMG for IMAX productions. The film will be released in IMAX in select markets.

BMG and its co-production partner Live Nation Productions, the executive producers and financiers of the film, have licensed US distribution rights to Neon while Universal Entertainment International will handle the movie outside the US.

North America cable and streaming rights have been licensed to HBO and HBO Max.

The upcoming documentary marks BMG’s latest music-related film project.

BMG’s recent films and television projects include DIO: Dreamers Never Die David Crosby: Remember My Name, and the Joan Jett documentary, Bad Reputation; Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records; and Echo In The Canyon.

The company also recently partnered with Pulse and Quickfire Films and Lewis Capaldi for his debut feature-length documentary film (BMG is the long-time music publisher of Capaldi’s songs).

Elsewhere, in March 2021, BMG inked a multi-faceted global partnership with the Montreux Jazz Festival, which includes a three-part documentary series celebrating the history of the music festival.

Also in the film world, BMG struck a long-term exclusive agreement with Netflix in June 2021 to manage and administer the on-demand video giant’s music publishing rights worldwide outside the US.

The agreement saw BMG elected as the worldwide exclusive music partner for Netflix-created hit movies and TV shows such as The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, Extraction, Stranger Things, and Emily In Paris.

“BMG is proud to build on our long-term relationship with the David Bowie estate working hand-in-hand with our partners Live Nation Productions to bring Brett Morgen’s vision to the big screen.”

Fred Casimir, BMG

BMG EVP Global Repertoire Fred Casimir, said: “This has been a five year labour of love to honour one of the greatest song catalogues in music history.

“BMG is proud to build on our long-term relationship with the David Bowie estate working hand-in-hand with our partners Live Nation Productions to bring Brett Morgen’s vision to the big screen.”Music Business Worldwide

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