(NewsNation) — Fans of Bruce Springsteen have long admired his independence, his refusal to be pigeonholed and his defiance of the strictures placed on artists by corporate-minded music moguls. He’s been seen as a rebel and as a symbol for the blue-collar American who puts on their jeans every day to head to work.
According to the New York Times, Sony Music Entertainment struck a deal to acquire the entire Springsteen catalog—everything from “The River” to “The Rising,” from “Born to Run” to “Born in the U.S.A.”—for over $500 million. The report is attributed to two people briefed on the deal who weren’t permitted to speak on the record.
This sale is just the latest in a string of recent catalog sales, which show aging artists cashing in on their life’s work and taking a fat paycheck in exchange for their love songs and diatribes, their pop hits, and dark musings on the futility of life.
Despite the working-class sensibilities, Springsteen’s daily grind involves playing a four-hour concert in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans, each of whom paid upward of $50 for the privilege. Those who grew up with The Boss know how much money they spent over the years on his albums, cassettes, and CDs. With music valued somewhere north of half a billion dollars, how can that guy in the sweaty jeans and the headband be worth that much?
Springsteen continues to write, create and perform music, so one can only assume that he’ll someday have another catalog to sell. And he will retain the rights to perform everything that’s in the catalog being sold. So we haven’t heard the last from The Boss. He just might be wearing designer jeans the next time we see him on stage.
Likely the first major “catalog buy” most remember was in 1985, when Michael Jackson bought the entire Beatles catalog for $47 million. Sir Paul McCartney now owns the rights to most of the catalog, which is valued at at least $1 billion.
In March, Paul Simon sold his catalog to Sony Music for somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million, which will buy a lot of Kodachrome and could certainly pay for a few trips to Graceland.