Global Deal Sets WMG as Definitive Home for Icon’s Body of Work
New Pact Encompasses Five Decades of Bowie Music
Warner Music Group (WMG) and the estate of David Bowie have signed a global, career-spanning partnership for Bowie’s timeless recorded music catalog. With this landmark new deal, Warner Music will now have worldwide rights to five decades of Bowie’s transcendent, culture-shifting work. Expanding on Warner Music’s current agreement with the estate, which encompasses Bowie material from 1968 to 1999, the new licensing agreement will include the entirety of Bowie’s 2000-2016 creative outpouring. Heathen, Reality, The Next Day, and the worldwide No.1 album ★ (pronounced Blackstar) are among the acclaimed works that will come into the Warner Music fold in 2023.
Much of Bowie’s catalog became part of the Warner Music family in 2013, when WMG acquired the historic London-based Parlophone Label Group. Since then, Warner Music and the Bowie estate have jointly embarked on an extensive, award-winning program of releases highlighting the astonishing, game-changing evolution of his career. This includes Five Years, which won the NME Award for Best Reissue in 2016; Conversation Piece, which earned the 2021 Making Vinyl Packaging Award for Best Book + Media Package; and the lauded Glastonbury 2000 live audio & video set (2018).
Prominent among the flow of recent Bowie releases has been the acclaimed Era series of box sets, each one covering a key period in Bowie’s career. Launched in 2015, there have been four Era sets released to date. The fifth Era box, Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001), is slated for release this fall, with details to come. Guided by Bowie’s vision for his catalog, Nigel Reeve – Warner Music’s SVP, Content Development & Marketing, Global Catalog, has worked in close partnership with the Bowie estate to curate and present a landmark release campaign celebrating Bowie’s unparalleled legacy, with many more exciting releases on tap.
Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group said: It’s an incredible honour to have been chosen as the stewards of one of the most important and dynamic bodies of creative work in modern culture. The impact of Bowie’s repeated reinvention and endless experimentation continues to resonate around the world – through the genres he transformed, the timeless songs and sounds he invented, and the immeasurable influence he’s had on music, art, and fashion. We’re excited that our expanded partnership with the Bowie estate will help us deliver innovative, career-spanning projects and attract new generations to his extraordinary musical universe.
Kevin Gore, President, Global Catalog, Warner Recorded Music added: To be entrusted with this phenomenal body of work is truly gratifying. For the past eight years, we’ve enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Bowie estate, collaborating on a fantastic series of releases. Nigel and our entire catalog team have taken great care to be thoughtful and steadfast in our promise to stay true to his artistic vision, while revealing previously unheard music and framing his genius in fresh contexts. With the addition of his immensely powerful later work to the Warner Music portfolio, we’re looking forward to bringing Bowie’s music to fans across the globe for many years to come.