Music’s first $500m artist catalog deal finally arrives as Bruce Springsteen sells rights to Sony

It’s finally happened. A deal worth half-a-billion dollars has been struck for the catalog of an individual artist.

That artist is Bruce Springsteen, who has reportedly sold both his masters and publishing rights to Sony Music in a deal worth $500 million.

Citing two people familiar with the transaction, The New York Times reports that the deal closed in recent weeks and may have even exceeded that $500 million figure.

As noted by the NYT, Springsteen has been with Sony‘s Columbia Records throughout his five-decade career.

Springsteen’s catalog includes mega hits like Born in the USA and Born to Run, which Sony now reportedly owns both the recorded music and publishing rights to.

Billboard was first to report the deal.

The news comes seven months after Sony Music Group boss Rob Stringer announced that Sony had spent $1.4 billion on music acquisitions in the prior six months, and that there would be more on the way.

Those deals included the $430m acquisition of AWAL and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, the $255m acquisition of Brazilian label Som Livre, and Sony Music Publishing’s buyout of Paul Simon’s song catalog for an undisclosed (but definite nine-figure) sum.

Prior to the news of Springsteen’s reported deal with Sony, one of the previous biggest single artist catalog deals was struck for the publishing rights of Bob Dylan, which Universal Music bought for a sum, expert industry sources suggest, was somewhere in the region of $300 million to $400 million.

A week prior to that, Fleetwood Mac star Stevie Nicks’ publishing catalog was valued at around $100 million following Primary Wave‘s acquisition of 80% of it.

In January 2021, Hipgnosis Songs Fund acquired 50% of the worldwide copyright and income interests in Neil Young’s entire song catalog, comprising 1,180 compositions. Industry experts suggest that the deal would have cost Hipgnosis in the region of $150 million.

This year has also seen a swathe of other big-money deals struck for the catalogs of superstar artists.

Just this week for example, Primary Wave Music acquired a stake in James Brown’s publishing, master recording income stream, and name and likeness rights, in a deal the New York Times reports is estimated ‘at about $90 million’.Music Business Worldwide