Sting Reveals The Real Purpose Of Selling His Music Catalog

Sting recently shared the real reason behind his decision to sell his music catalog, including his solo work and The Police songs. In an interview with BBC, he shed light on why he chose to sell to Universal Music Group (UMG) in 2021 for an estimated $300 million.

For Sting, the motivations didn’t have to do with the recent industry trend triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, where artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Stevie Nicks sold their music out of concern for the future of the music business. Instead, Sting’s decision was more about personal control and ensuring a neat estate.

His motivations were more aligned with the situations artists such as Prince and Jimi Hendrix faced, where issues arose after their passing. The aftermath of these artists’ deaths saw their music rights entangled in legal battles and their legacies marred by disputes.

Sting’s words on selling his music catalog to prevent posthumous legal battles like Prince and Hendrix:

“That can be a mess. So I think it’s better to take control of it now. I still think of them as my songs.”

He added:

“In the same way that a painter who sells his paintings to collectors still thinks of the paintings as being his own, so these are still my songs. I just got paid in advance. It’s as simple as that. That’s how I rationalize it.”

The musician sees the transaction as getting paid upfront for his songs while still having a sense of ownership. His decision to sell his music catalog to UMG was a practical choice to keep his music and artistic legacy in check and avoid future problems.