Bowie Strikes Monster Deal With EMI

Official EMI Records Press Release

22nd May 1997

     David Bowie, ever the financial wizard, has struck a licensing deal with EMI Music for his back catalogue, a deal that could net the fifty-year-old singer over $2 million a year. While that may not sound like a lot in the big picture of music sales, Bowie is using the deal as collateral for investors who have dropped money into his ten-year, $55 million bonds, which they purchased against his future earnings. The deal gives EMI rights to release twenty-five Bowie albums from between 1969 and 1990 over the next fifteen years, including unreleased studio and live recordings that Bowie has sitting around the house. Needless to say, the agreement gives EMI some of Bowie’s best work, including Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory, and Let’s Dance. Bowie is guaranteed more than twenty-five percent of the royalties from wholesale sales in the U.S.

This isn’t the only deal Bowie’s got going. He’s just launched his own art-book publishing company, called 21, in London. The company’s first release will be a tome titled Blimey! From Bohemia to Britpop, which is described as a “gossipy volume about contemporary artists.” On top of that, the Man Who Fell to Earth is gearing up for a summer tour that will include stops at more than twenty summer festivals. Although his most recent releases haven’t sold particularly well, Bowie is clearly in the money: he’s sold over seventy-two million records in the last thirty years.

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