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Universal acquires Sting’s song catalogue in latest deal

Sting has sold his the rights to his entire songwriting catalogue (David Mirzoeff/PA)
Sting has sold his the rights to his entire songwriting catalogue (David Mirzoeff/PA)

Sting has sold his entire songwriting catalogue to Universal, marking the publishing group’s latest high-profile acquisition.

The deal includes both his solo work and albums with The Police – encompassing hits such as Roxanne, Every Breath You Take and Fields Of Gold.

Universal Music Group (UMG), which has been the North Tyneside-raised musician’s label home throughout his career, will now represent both his song catalogue and recorded music catalogue.

It comes after the group acquired Bob Dylan’s entire back catalogue in December 2020 for a reported 300 million US dollars.

The Police – Heathrow Airport – London
Andy Summers, Sting and Stewart Copeland of The Police (PA)

Sting, who celebrated his 70th birthday in October, said: “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.

“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.”

Born Gordon Sumner, Sting found fame as songwriter and bassist for new wave rockers The Police from 1977 until 1984 after which he left to pursue a solo career.

He has won 17 Grammys, including song of the year for Every Breath You Take in 1984, three Brits and various other accolades.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story
Bob Dylan’s entire back catalogue was acquired by Universal Music Group in December 2020 (Netflix/PA)

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group, said: “I’ve had the privilege to work with Sting for over 20 years and I’m so thrilled to expand our relationship to now include music publishing.

“Sting is a songwriting genius whose music permeates global culture. We are honoured that by choosing UMPG for his music publishing, Sting’s entire body of work as a songwriter and recording artist – from the Police to his solo work – 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.”

Sting was represented in the deal by American entertainment lawyer, Allen Grubman, who also represented the David Bowie estate during negotiations over Warner Chappell Music’s lucrative acquisition of the late musician’s publishing rights.

Artists including Mick Fleetwood, Neil Young and Blondie singer Debbie Harry have all also sold interests in their music in the past two years.

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