David Bowie's estate sells publishing rights to songs for over $350 million

David Bowie's back catalogue has been sold for over $350 million.
David Bowie's back catalogue has been sold for over $350 million. Photo credit: Getty Images

David Bowie's estate has sold the late rock star's entire back catalogue for more than $350 million to Warner Chappel Music. 

The catalogue has over six decades' worth a material including Bowie's iconic hits such as Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust, Heroes and Let's Dance.    

"These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever," Guy Moot, the chief executive of Warner Chappell, said in a statement.

Bowe, who was born David Jones in 1947 was one of the most influential musicians of his generation, releasing an album a year during the 1970s including Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars, Aladdin Sane and Station to Station.  

He continued making music up to his death, recording Blackstar shortly before he died of cancer in 2016. 

The deal between Bowie's estate and Warner Music includes songs from the 26 studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous studio album release "Toy".

Warner Music did not disclose the financial terms of the deal in its announcement on Monday, but a source said the purchase was worth about $250 million.

Bowie's estate had in September signed a deal that gave Warner Music global rights to the artist's catalog from 1968 through 2016.

Bowie shot to fame in Britain in 1969 with "Space Oddity," whose words he said were inspired by watching Stanley Kubrick’s film "2001: A Space Odyssey" while stoned.

But it was his 1972 portrayal of a doomed bisexual rock envoy from space, "Ziggy Stardust", that propelled him to global stardom.

The deal for his catalog is the latest in the media rights sector, where companies have sought to boost royalties by purchasing artists' catalogs after the pandemic hit physical revenue streams and delayed release of new recordings.

Warner Music, home to musicians such as Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, has also partnered with popstar Madonna to relaunch her entire catalog over the next few years. 

Its deal with Bowie's estate comes days before the rock star's 75th birth anniversary on Jan. 8.