EMI, Sting in tune on $35 million pact

LONDON — EMI Music Publishing has signed pop star Sting to a comprehensive, exclusive worldwide publishing deal that includes the singer’s back catalog from his days in the band the Police, his subsequent solo career and future songwriting. The deal marks the singer’s first publishing pact.

According to sources, the deal entails a lump-sum payment to Sting in the region of $35 million. The deal was sealed Wednesday at Sting’s country estate in southern England by EMI Music Publishing chairman and CEO Martin Bandier and U.K. chief Peter Reichardt.

“To be working with an artist of such depth and character as Sting is a once-in-a-musical-lifetime opportunity,” Bandier said. “Particularly as this deal spans such a wide and fruitful collection.” Royalties will be split on a 75-25 basis, according to sources, with Sting taking the lion’s share.

Minimum 10 years with 5 albums

The duration of the contract is a minimum of 10 years and will last as long it takes Sting to deliver his next five albums. The musician is signed to the A&M label, which is owned by Polygram.

Songs in the back catalog include the Police megahit “Every Breath You Take,” of which a reworked version by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans, “I’ll Be Missing You” (BMG), currently is topping the singles chart in the U.S. and is at No. 2 in the U.K.

Other material includes the Police’s “Message in a Bottle,” “Roxanne” and the songs from Sting’s critically acclaimed solo outings, including “Soul Cages,” “Ten Summoner’s Tales” and the recent “Mercury Falling.”

Since 1981, Sting has controlled his publishing through his own company, Magnetic. The songs were then licensed to other publishing companies on a territory-by-territory basis. Before 1981, the Police catalog was held by Virgin Music Publishing.

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