David Bowie’s career-spanning catalog of recordings will be represented by Warner Music Group for the first time, through a new licensing agreement reached with the late legend’s estate.
Starting in 2023, the Thin White Duke’s recordings from 2000 until his passing in 2016 will shift to WMG on a global basis, in what the major music company describes as “a landmark deal.” With it, WMG completes the set by uniting five decades of Bowie’s music under the same creative roof. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Among the artist’s later works covered by this new pact are 2002’s Mercury Prize-nominated Heathen; 2003’s Reality; 2013’s The Next Day; and his final studio album, 2016’s Blackstar, also shortlisted for the annual Mercury Prize.
Blackstar dropped just two days before Bowie’s death, on Jan. 10, 2016. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, giving Bowie a posthumous, first leader. The following year, during the 59th Grammy Awards, Blackstar swept all five awards it was nominated for.
Warner Music Group has controlled the lion’s share of Bowie’s recordings since 2013, when the company acquired the Parlophone Label Group, following the split-up and sale of EMI.
In the intervening years, WMG has pulled the trigger of several releases showcasing Bowie’s legendary, and constantly evolving art, including the Five Years reissue and the Era series of box sets.
Expect more special releases in the years ahead.
“It’s an incredible honor to have been chosen as the stewards of one of the most important and dynamic bodies of creative work in modern culture,” comments Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group.
The company’s expanded partnership with the Bowie estate, he continues, “will help us deliver innovative, career-spanning projects and attract new generations to his extraordinary musical universe.”
WMG’s move to become the definitive home of Bowie’s recorded music follows the music major’s global partnership with Madonna, for her entire catalog, and a separate, earlier deal struck with David Guetta for the French DJ’s complete works.
Rival music giant Universal Music last month announced its own deal, that would see the company represent Aerosmith’s entire recorded music catalog ahead of the rockers’ 50th anniversary next year.