BMG, the world’s fourth biggest music company, announced Tuesday it has bought a portfolio of rights associated with Tina Turner and her music catalog, including her share of her solo recordings and publishing assets, and rights to her name and image.
The Berlin-based company says it will work with the 81-year-old rock and soul legend, who is now retired from the stage, to “maintain and develop her musical treasure trove and safeguard her inspirational legacy.”
“Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal,” Turner said in a statement. “I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music my work is in professional and reliable hands.” Warner continues to be her record company.
Said BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch, “Tina Turner’s musical journey has inspired hundreds of millions of people around the world and continues to reach new audiences. 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. She is truly and simply the best.”
Despite Turner’s retirement from performing, her public profile is higher than it’s been in years, if not decades, thanks to a run of projects that includes a Tony-winning Broadway musical, an inspirational book and, just this year, an HBO documentary.
BMG said it expects to make additional announcements in the coming weeks as it and other companies face an increasingly competitive market in acquiring pop superstars’ assets, as “part of BMG’s long-term strategy to create a 21st century home for the most iconic music rights in popular music history.” Among the artists whose catalogs or branding BMG has already invested in are such heavyweights as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, David Bowie, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Roger Waters, Kurt Cobain, Mick Fleetwood, Blondie, the Kinks and Black Sabbath.
BMG said that for the deal, Turner and her manager and husband, Erwin Bach, were legally represented by Torsten Siefert of Kiso Siefert Dropmann in Germany and Bär & Karrer in Switzerland. For BMG’s own part, the company says it was advised by lawyers Lenz & Staehelin in Switzerland, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in the U.S., Simkins in the U.K., EY and the Royalty Consultancy.
Specifically, BMG says the deal makes the company a partner in Turner’s artist’s share of her recordings, her music publishing writer’s share, and her name, image, and likeness.
After breaking off from Ike Turner and their highly successful career as a duo, Tina Turner found far larger commercial success a solo artist in the ’80s with albums like “Private Dancer” and singles like “What’s Love Got to Do WIth It.” Her solo catalog includes 10 studio albums, two live albums, two soundtracks and five compilations. She’s the winner of 12 Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame both as part of the Ike and Tina Turner duo and on her own.
In an email interview with Variety last December, Turner talked about her then-new memoir, “Happiness Becomes You,” as well as the hit Broadway show based on her life. “I loved every minute of it,” she said of “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” “I still get chills thinking about the show’s opening scene, which depicts me as a little girl working in the cotton fields in my hometown of Nutbush, Tenn., and how far I traveled from there to where I am now.”
Asked if she wished she were still performing, Turner told Variety, “Not even slightly! I’m happy watching others perform now. There’s a time and place for everything, and this is my wonderful retirement time. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”