Sting sells all of his songs to Universal

Sting has sold his entire songwriting back catalogue, including solo work and material by The Police, to the Universal Music Group (UMG).

The Tyneside-born singer’s old band had hits with tracks including Every Breath You Take and Roxanne.

He then went on to enjoy solo success with songs like Fields Of Gold, and has won 17 Grammys and three Brit Awards.

The move marks the publishing group’s latest big acquisition, after it struck a deal with Bob Dylan in 2020.

It also comes amidst a years-long record industry spending spree, with record labels and investment firms snapping up the rights to songs and recordings by the likes of David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Tina Turner, as well as Blondie, Taylor Swift, David Guetta and Shakira.

“It is absolutely essential to me that my career’s body of work have a home where it is valued and respected – not only to connect with long-time fans in new ways, but also to introduce my songs to new audiences, musicians and generations,” said 70-year-old Sting, who has been on the Universal music label for most of his career.

“Throughout my career, I have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with UMG as my label partner, under the watchful guidance of Lucian (Grainge), so it felt natural to unite everything in one trusted home, as I return to the studio, ready for the next chapter.”

‘Permeates global culture’

Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, was the frontman, bass player and chief songwriter in The Police in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before going solo. The UK band won song of the year at the 1984 Grammys, for their haunting classic Every Breath You Take.

Sir Lucian Grainge, boss of the Universal Music Group, commented that after having had “the privilege” to work with Sting for more than 20 years, he was “thrilled” to expand their relationship to now include music publishing.

“Sting is a songwriting genius whose music permeates global culture,” he said. “We are honoured that by choosing UMPG for his music publishing, Sting’s entire body of work as a songwriter and recording artist will all be within the UMG family.

“It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly, as well as a great validation of what we have built for artists at UMG.”

Writing in January, after the Dylan-Universal deal was struck, BBC music correspondent Mark Savage said the idea of such arrangements was to “provide immediate financial security to the artist and their estates, while the new rights-holders will hope to profit from streams of classic songs, while building new revenue streams via film and TV licensing, merchandise, cover versions and performance royalties”. (BBC)

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