Sting sells music catalogue include The Police albums to Universal

Police frontman follows major artists including Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan in selling his catalogue to a record label

Sting-Music Catalog
Sting-Music Catalog

Sting is selling his music catalogue – including hits he made with The Police and as a solo artist – joining a chorus of stars who are cashing in with investors who see value in licensing their songs.

Universal said in a statement released on Thursday 10 February that its music-publishing arm bought the musician’s catalogue, including “Every Breath You Take,” “Roxanne" and “Fields of Gold.” Financial terms were not disclosed.

In recent months, Bob Dylan Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, Neil Young and others have sold their recordings, songwriting catalogs or both. Buyers typically get the permanent right to use the artist's songs or recordings in commercials, movies, television shows and other formats.

Prices are rarely disclosed, but music industry experts put Springsteen's sale to Sony Music Entertainment in December at $550m, and Dylan's deal the same month with Universal Music Publishing Group at between $300m and $500m.

Sony also reportedly now owns the rights to Dylan’s “multiple future new releases”. The “Like A Rolling Stone” singer first signed to Sony’s Columbia Records in 1961.

Tina Turner sold the rights to her extensive back catalogue in a deal with music publishing giant BMG, in October last year.

The body of work, which includes hits such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Better Be Good to Me” were sold for an undisclosed fee along with the rights to her name, image and likeness. It marked the largest deal negotiated with a single artist in the publisher’s history.

Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, helped form The Police in London the 1970s as its lead singer, songwriter and bass guitar player. The band combined new wave rock, reggae and jazz, and were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Between his work with the group and as a solo artist, Sting has won 17 Grammy awards and numerous other honours. Universal said he has sold more than 100 million albums.

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In 2019, music-licensing agency BMI said “Every Breath You Take” had surpassed “You've Lost That Loving Feeling” to become the most-played song in its catalog.

Sting still performs live concerts and has acted in several films.

In statement issued by Universal Music Group, Sting said he wants his work used to connect with longtime fans in new ways and “to introduce my songs to new audiences, musicians and generations”.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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