Bruce Springsteen Sells Entire Catalog to Sony Music Entertainment In Estimated $500 Million Deal

Bruce Springsteen performing in 2008 (Photo Credit: Craig ONeal CC 2.0)

Bruce Springsteen performing in 2008 (Photo Credit: Craig ONeal CC 2.0)

Bruce Springsteen has just inked one of the biggest music rights acquisition deal — ever. The reportedly $500 million-plus deal with Sony Music Entertainment involves the Boss’ entire catalog of music, including both recordings and publishing assets.

Roughly one year ago today, Bob Dylan dropped jaws with a behemoth, $300 million rights deal involving Universal Music Group Publishing.  Now, Sony Music Entertainment — which also wields a massive war chest — is here to eclipse that deal by more than $200 million.

According to a raft of industry sources and reports by both The New York Times and Billboard, ‘The Boss’ has finalized the paperwork on a $500 million rights sale to Sony. An officially announcement hasn’t been released, but preliminary information suggests that the deal covers Springsteen’s entire catalog, both on the recording and publishing side.

That includes a raft of classics etched into American culture, including “Born to Run,” “Dancing In the Dark,” “Born In the USA,” “Glory Days,” “Hungry Heart,” and more.  Heading into the deal, it appears that Springsteen exercised considerable ownership control over those assets, which helped to spike the deal price.

Incidentally, rumors of the Springsteen deal have been swirling for months. And Springsteen may have been weighing offers and competing bids. In the end, Sony ponied the king’s ransom, and may have simply outgunned the usual competitors like Hipgnosis Songs Fund. Whether a $500 million price tag makes sense is subject to debate, though Sony clearly paid a handsome multiple for the rights grab.

At that price point, it’s almost hard for Springsteen to say no. Springsteen is currently 72, and has been crafting hits since the 70s. The gig doesn’t last forever, so a cash-out of this magnitude probably makes sense from a number of angles. For estate planning purposes, for example, Springsteen’s heirs and now left with a pile of cash instead of a complex business of IP rights management.

And despite Sony’s expertise and financial forecasting, it’s difficult to predict what Springsteen’s catalog will be worth in the coming decades. The Boss is clearly a bankable icon in 2021, though societies and their cultures can change dramatically over time. Future generations may enjoy classics like “Born to Run,” but they won’t have the same cultural attachment to the music. At some point, everything gets dated, and while copyright protections last a long time, they don’t go on forever.

We’ll have more as details on this deal emerge — including any official announcements. Stay tuned.