Sting sells his catalog of music, including Police songs, to Universal Music

Sting sells his catalog of music, including hits he’s achieved with the police and as a solo artist, joining a chorus of stars cashing in with investors who see value in licensing their songs.

Universal said Thursday that its music publishing arm purchased the catalog, including “Every Breath You Take,” “Roxanne” and “Fields of Gold.” Financial terms were not disclosed.

In recent months, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young and others who have sold millions of albums to baby boomers have sold their recordings, their songwriting catalogs or both. Buyers usually get the permanent right to use the artist’s songs or recordings in commercials, movies, TV shows, and other formats.

Pricing is rarely disclosed, but music industry pundits put Springsteen’s sale to Sony SONY,
-1.39%
Music Entertainment in December to $550 million and Dylan’s deal the same month with Universal Music Publishing Group UMG,
+0.63%
between 300 and 500 million dollars.

Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, helped train London police in the 1970s as a singer, songwriter and bassist. The group mixed new wave rock, reggae and jazz, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Between working with the band and as a solo artist, Sting has won 17 Grammy Awards and many other honors. Universal said it has sold over 100 million albums. In 2019, music licensing agency BMI said “Every Breath You Take” surpassed “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” become the most played song in its catalog.

Sting still performs live concerts and has acted in over a dozen films.

In a statement released by Universal Music Group, Sting said he wants his work to be used to connect with longtime fans in new ways and “to introduce my songs to new audiences, musicians and generations.”


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Grace D. Erickson