In what is likely a historic transaction, rock legend and one of New Jersey’s favorite sons Bruce Springsteen has reportedly sold his entire music catalog for around $500 million.
According to Billboard, Springsteen, 72, sold all of his masters to Sony Music Entertainment. Springsteen has recorded for Sony’s Columbia Records for his entire 50-year career. His catalog includes his five-time platinum The River and 15-time platinum Born to Run.
The deal reportedly includes not just his recorded music but his entire catalog of work as a songwriter, according to Billboard.
All told, Springsteen’s catalog has had 65.5 million sales in the United States and generated 2.25 million album consumption units in the country since the beginning of 2018, Billboard reported. In 2020 alone, Springsteen’s catalog generated about $15 million in revenue.
Known as The Boss, Springsteen has had a prolific career, most of it backed by his famous E Street Band, releasing 20 studio albums along with dozens of singles, music videos, and live albums. According to RIAA, Springsteen is the 16th highest-selling artist of all time.
Others who have cashed in
Springsteen joins other music legends who have sold the rights to their legendary catalogs.
» READ MORE: Revisiting the Bruce Springsteen albums nobody likes
Almost exactly a year ago, Bob Dylan sold publishing rights to his catalog of more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group. At the time, the price was not disclosed, though industry experts estimated it was in the range of $300 million to $500 million, similar to the reported price tag for Springsteen’s catalog.
Earlier this year, Paul Simon also sold his catalog to Sony Music Publishing, although financial details of that transaction weren’t announced.
Why do musicians sell their catalogs?
In cases like Springsteen’s, where an artist’s entire catalog is sold, this is to maximize the upfront payment they receive for the sale, according to Forbes. Otherwise, artists will see the money distributed over years through royalties.
But by selling their catalog, an artist foregoes control of how and where their music is published and used, though there are generally terms set ahead of transactions.
Often, compensation artists receive for these sales is treated as long-term capital gains, which the federal government generally taxes at a lower rate than ordinary income, Forbes reported.