Hitmaker Sting sells career music catalogue to Universal

FILE PHOTO: The first IMA awards ceremony
FILE PHOTO: British musician Sting reacts as he arrives at the International Music Award ceremony in Berlin, Germany, November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

February 10, 2022

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Dawn Chmielewski

LONDON (Reuters) -British singer-songwriter Sting has sold his career music catalogue to  Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), the company said on Thursday, in the latest such move by an artist to cash in on their work.

The deal comprises the entirety of Sting’s solo works as well as those when he was with rock band The Police – including classics “Every Breath You Take”, “Roxanne”, “Shape Of My Heart”, “Message in a Bottle”, “Fields Of Gold”, “Desert Rose” and “Englishman in New York” among others.

UMPG, the publishing arm of Universal Music Group (UMG), did not disclose financial details of the deal, which brings together Sting’s music publishing and recorded music catalogues, while sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the deal was valued at $300 million.

“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 longtime fans in new ways but also to introduce my songs to new audiences, musicians and generations,” Sting said in a statement.

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

The Police, of which Sting was co-founder, frontman and bassist, released five studio albums between 1978 and 1983.

As a solo artist, he has released more than a dozen studio albums, starting with 1985’s “The Dream of Blue Turtles”. His latest record “The Bridge” was released in November.

The 70-year-old’s many accolades include three BRIT Awards, including one for Outstanding Contribution to Music, Billboard Magazine’s Century Award, a Golden Globe and Emmy Award. He has been nominated for an Oscar four times.

Sting, also an actor, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. His songs have been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, George Michael and Herbie Hancock among others.

In 2019, U.S. performing rights organization BMI said mega hit “Every Breath You Take” was the most played song in radio history.

“Sting is a songwriting genius whose music permeates global culture,” UMG Chairman and Chief Executive Sir Lucian Grainge said.

Other artists to have done rights deals for their work include Mick Fleetwood and Bob Dylan.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Shounak Dasgupta)