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David Guetta sells his songs for a nine-figure sum

Written by on 6th July 2021

David Guetta, the producer behind hits like Titanium, I Got A Feeling and Hey Mama, has sold his back catalogue to Warner Music for a nine-figure sum.

The French star made about $100m (£72m) in the deal, which also covers his future recordings.

It comes amid a spending spree on hit songs, with Bob Dylan and Paul Simon’s catalogues also selling for millions.

Guetta is one of the biggest figures in pop and dance in the 21st Century. The 52-year-old has sold 50 million records and racked up more than 14 billion streams, and has worked with Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, The Black Eyed Peas, Nicki Minaj and Sia.

He started off as a DJ in Paris and Ibiza, making his name with an unauthorised remix of David Bowie’s Heroes.

His first UK number one was 2009’s When Love Takes Over, recorded with Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland. He is currently back in the top 10 with the Little Mix collaboration Heartbreak Anthem.

A two-time Grammy winner, Guetta has helped shaped the sound of modern pop – helping introduce America to European dance music through his production work the Black Eyed Peas’ I Got A Feeling.

“It’s rare for an artist to not only define a genre but transform it,” said Warner Music boss Max Lousada in a statement. “David has been doing that for over two decades. He continues to have an extraordinary impact on the evolution of dance music while innovating and collaborating with new voices in dynamic ways.”

Spending spree

The acquisition of hit songs has become a major business over the last three years, as streaming opens up new revenue sources for classic hits.

The London-based Hipgnosis Songs Fund has led the way, taking a 50% share in Neil Young’s back catalogue, as well as obtaining the rights to music by Shakira, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

Universal Music Group also spent a reported $300m (£288m) to acquire Bob Dylan’s song catalogue; while Sony Music Group has spent $1.4 bn (£1bn) on music-related acquisitions in the six months to the end of May this year – including splashing out a nine-figure sum for Paul Simon’s hits.

The purpose of these deals is to allow investors to earn royalties every time one of those is played.

Investors usually seek out hits that have endured over decades, making Guetta’s deal unusual, as his most popular songs were almost exclusively released in the last 10 years.

The deal is unique in one other respect – in that Guetta has sold his master recordings, rather than his songwriting rights.

It is still unusual for musicians to own their recordings, which are more typically in the control of record labels.

New projects

However, Warner Music could be exposing itself to a certain amount of risk with its latest investment, according to the industry website Music Business Worldwide.

“Some industry observers believe music like Guetta’s best-known hits will ultimately be stung by a ‘decay’ in popularity,” wrote Tim Ingham.

“Others point to the fact that a tune like Guetta’s Titanium was released 10 years ago, and continues to maintain a handsome level of streaming popularity.”

Guetta is currently the world’s eighth most popular artist on Spotify. His manager, Jean-Charles Carré, said several companies had expressed an interest in buying the rights to his songs.

In a statement, Guetta added: “I’m super excited about the new music I’m working on. And even more excited that I have started to play all this new music live to my fans again and they are loving it. This deal is about having the best people around me to ensure I can keep innovating with exciting new projects, while also working my extensive catalogue and continuing to build my career.”

(Source: BBC News)