When 'The Boss' is worth $500 million, it's time for stars to sell their back catalogs

 

Bruce Springsteen carrying a guitar and singing onstage
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SUFH

Bruce Springsteen's entire back catalog – including songwriting and recordings – reportedly cost Sony Music Group north of $500 million.

Even before the official announcement of the purchase in May, Sony Music Group's chairman, Rob Stringer, told investors he's spent about $1.5 billion just on music acquisitions since the beginning of the year.

"Including rights to some of the most iconic artists of all time, such as Paul Simon," he gloated.

Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young are just some of the stars who have recently sold off substantial rights to their music. It should be noted: There are huge differences between royalties for songwriting and performance. Some of these deals are just for publishing; others also include the original recordings, known as masters.

A former music executive sums up the current market for all of them. "It's scorching hot," she exclaims. "Hot, hot, hot!"

Serona Elton used to work with the major labels. Now she's a professor and associate dean at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She compares being a celebrity musician with a catalog of hits to owning property someplace like Austin, Texas.

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