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Sting Shopping Song Catalog for $250 Million-Plus, Universal Said to Be in Lead

Sting
Denise Truscello

Sting is in advanced talks to sell his song catalog for upwards of $250 million, multiple sources tell Variety. While some sources say that Universal Music Publishing is in the lead, others say the catalog may remain with Sony Music Publishing, where it is currently. The deal has apparently been dragging on for several months; reps for Universal, Sony and Sting either declined or did not respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.

Some sources say that a portion of the recorded-music rights to Sting’s solo material is included in the deal, although that was unclear at the time of this article’s publication.

The move would be another blockbuster deal for UMPG, coming almost a year to the day after its acquisition of the Bob Dylan catalog for nearly $400 million; and for Sony, which recently acquired Paul Simon’s song catalog for an undisclosed but doubtless high price.

With a career reaching back to the late 1970s and a catalog boasting such songs as “Every Breath You Take,” “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “If You Love Someone Set Them Free” and dozens of others, the man born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner is a 17-time Grammy Award winner and one of the most popular artists to arise in the past 50 years. He has sold an estimated 100 million albums worldwide, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. He released five studio albums with the Police and his 14th solo studio album, “The Bridge,” comes out Friday.

While originally an edgy “new wave” artist, Sting and his music have become increasingly mainstream since the early 1980s. In a way similar to U2, his audience has grown with his music and it is likely to be played at weddings and similar events for many years to come.

As if on cue, earlier this month, he launched a Las Vegas residency, “My Songs,” at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The show features Sting performing songs from across his entire career, accompanied by a five-piece band.