Tina Turner and Other Legendary Black Musicians Who Sold Their Publishing Rights

Last week, singer Tina Turner sold the rights to her music catalogue spanning more than 60 years, including songs such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “The Best,” and “Private Dancer,” to German music publishing company BMG.

In what was the largest deal struck with a single artist in BMG’s history, Turner sold the management of her name, image, and likeness, as well as artist’s and writer’s shares of her recordings for an undisclosed sum. According to Music Business Worldwide, experts estimate the deal is worth over $50 million.

The 81-year-old icon isn’t the first big artist to monetize the value of past hits in today’s streaming era. Her move follows Neil Young’s agreement with the music company Hipgnosis, and Universal Music’s $300 million deal with Bob Dylan.

“Tina Turner’s musical journey has inspired literally hundreds of millions of people around the world and continues to reach new audiences,” Hartwig Masuch, chief executive of BMG stated. “We are honored to take on the job of managing Tina Turner’s musical and commercial interests. It is a responsibility we take seriously and will pursue diligently.”

Turner, who at the end of this month is slated to be inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame for a second time, will continue as a recording artist on Warner Music’s books following this enormous deal.

“Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal,” she said. “I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music my work is in professional and reliable hands.

As part of the deal, BMG will also work with Turner on her future releases. “With Warner and Tina, we want to expand our reach and influence new audiences,” Masuch said. “What’s the YouTube strategy, what do we do with TikTok? You have to be far beyond any approach where you’re just releasing a best-of album every four years or selling rights for a documentary.”

Turner isn’t the first artist to sell recording rights to a publishing company. Throughout the years, there have been many musicians to do so. Below, is a list of some of history’s most notable Black artists to have their recording or publishing rights purchased.






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