Warner Music Group (WMG) and the estate of David Bowie have signed a global, career-spanning partnership for late musician’s recorded music catalog.
With this new deal, WMG will now have worldwide rights to five decades of Bowie's work. Expanding on WMG’s current agreement with the estate, which encompasses Bowie material from 1968 to 1999, the new licensing agreement will include the entirety of his 2000-2016 creative work. “Heathen,” “Reality,” “The Next Day” and his final album, “★” (Blackstar) are among the acclaimed works that will come into WMG’s fold in 2023.
Much of Bowie’s catalog became part of the WMG family in 2013, when it acquired the historic London-based Parlophone Label Group. Since then, WMG and the Bowie estate have jointly embarked on an extensive, program of releases highlighting the evolution of his career. This includes the compilations, “Five Years,” in 2016; “Conversation Piece,” and the Glastonbury 2000 live audio and video set (2018).
“It’s an incredible honor to have been chosen as the stewards of one of the most important and dynamic bodies of creative work in modern culture,” says Max Lousada, chief executive officer, recorded music, WMG. “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.”
Prominent among the 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, senior vice president, content development and marketing, global catalog, WMG, has worked in close partnership with the Bowie estate to curate and present a landmark release campaign celebrating Bowie’s unparalleled legacy.
“To be entrusted with this phenomenal body of work is truly gratifying,” says Kevin Gore, president, global catalog, Warner Recorded Music. “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.”