In a move that reunites his music publishing rights with his master recordings, Sting has sold his entire catalog of songs from his debut in The Police to his solo career at Universal Music Publishing Group.
Although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, Billboard previously reported that Sting purchased a set of music assets that produced an annual royalty revenue stream of around $12-13 million and was eyeing a salary of around $360 million.
This catalog includes songs such as “Roxanne”, “Every Breath You Take”, “Shape Of My Heart”, “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You”, “Fields Of Gold”, “Desert Rose”, “Message in a Bottle,” “Englishman in New York,” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” among countless other global hits. Between Police and his solo career, Sting’s music has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, according to Universal Music Group, which was Sting’s label throughout his career through A&M, Interscope and Cherrytree Records.
“So many memories of my youth are tied to the great songs that Sting wrote – whether it was first seeing the police perform in Philadelphia or listening to his music on the radio or playing those albums until I exhausts them,” said the UMPG Chairman and CEO. Jody Gerson said in a statement. “I never could have imagined that one day I could lead a company that would be the guardian of Sting’s remarkable songwriting legacy. Each of us at UMPG looks forward to this work with a sense of honor, responsibility and tremendous excitement about what we can achieve for his music in the future.
Since UMG already had its masters recorded, the addition of Sting’s music publishing rights gives UMPG and its parent company a strong hand in synchronization and other revenue-generating and rights-licensing opportunities. This probably means that if someone wants to license their songs for a movie or commercial, Universal can make sure his recordings are used, thus reaping a bigger salary instead of a cheaper license for recording a cover version.
In addition to giving UMG a stronger licensing hand, sources say the Sting music publishing catalog is being boosted by a larger-than-usual royalty component from covers and samples used in songs. hip-hop by the likes of Puff Daddy and Juice. Wrld, Nas, RZA, 2Pac, Black-Eyed Peas, the Fugees and Cam’ron, among others. Additionally, his songs have been covered by artists such as George Michael, Johnny Cash, Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Eva Cassidy, Violet Femmes, Gloria Gaynor, Shirley Bassey, and Fall Out Boy, among others.
According to the announcement, UMPG and UMG will work with Sting to grow and expand his vast audience, “enhance the impact and influence of his timeless works” and continue to support future music releases.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with Sting for over 20 years and I’m thrilled to expand our relationship to now include music publishing,” said the UMG Chairman and CEO. Sir Lucian Grainge said in a statement. “Sting is a songwriting genius whose music permeates global culture. We are honored that by choosing UMPG for its music publishing, all of Sting’s work as a songwriter and recording artist – from the police to his solo work – will become part of the UMG family. It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly and a great validation of what we’ve built for artists at UMG.
By closing the deal, it means Universal Music Publishing Group was involved in two of the three largest single-artist publishing acquisitions. In December 2020, UMPG acquired the Bob Dylan publishing catalog in a deal that would have carried a valuation of over $400 million.
In December, Bruce Springsteen received around $500 million for the sale of his catalogs, but alongside the music publishing catalog, this sale also included his master recordings, which he owned. It is unclear what ratings have been assigned to Springsteen’s catalog of songs compared to his main recordings.
Sting, born Gordon Sumner, has received 11 Grammy Awards for his solo work, while Rock Hall inductee Police has won six Grammys and two Brit Awards, according to UMPG. Additionally, Sting was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“I am thrilled to have Jody and the team at UMPG curating and managing my catalog of songs,” Sting said in a statement. “It’s absolutely essential to me that all of my career work has a home where it’s valued and respected – not only to connect with long-time fans in new ways, but also to introduce my songs to new ones. audiences, musicians and generations.Throughout my career, I have had a long and fruitful relationship with UMG as my label partner, under the watchful guidance of Lucian, so it seemed natural to unite everything in a house of trust, as I return to the studio, ready for the next chapter.”
Sting, which is directed by Martin Kierszenbaum/Cherrytree Music Company, was represented in the transaction by Allen Grubman with partners Joe Brenner and Stuart Prager.