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Tina Turner sells music rights for reported $50m sum

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Tina Turner sold the rights to her music catalogue, including hits like The Best and Nutbush City Limits, to music publishing company BMG.

BMG will also acquire the rights to Turner’s name, image, and likeness for future sponsorship and merchandising deals as part of the agreement.

The company did not say how much it paid, but industry sources said it was more than $50 million (£37 million).

Turner stated that she was confident her music was in “trustworthy hands.”

The 81-year-old is one of pop music’s most recognisable and vibrant stars.

Anna Mae Bullock was born in Tennessee and joined Ike Turner’s band as a backup singer when she was 18 years old. Within two years, she was the show’s star, and the duo scored a string of hits, including future R&B standards such as A Fool In Love, River Deep, Mountain High, and Nutbush City Limits.

Ike and Tina Turner were one of the biggest soul and R&B acts of the 1960s

Tina and Ike married in 1962, but their marriage was turbulent and violent, and she filed for divorce in the 1970s.

Turner’s solo career quickly surpassed her collaboration with Ike, with five platinum albums, including 1984’s Private Dancer, which went three times platinum in the UK.

Her biggest hits include that record’s title track, What’s Love Got To Do With It, The Best, Steamy Windows and the Bond theme Goldeneye.

She has received 12 Grammy Awards and will enter the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame as a solo artist in October – her second induction after entering the pantheon with Ike Turner in 1991.

Simply the best

The agreement with BMG sees her handing over her share of the recording and publishing rights to those hits, as well as dozens more from her six-decade career. Warner Music will continue to distribute the singer’s music.

“Tina Turner’s musical journey has inspired hundreds of millions of people worldwide and continues to reach new audiences,” BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said.

“We are honoured to be in charge of Tina Turner’s musical and commercial interests. We take this responsibility seriously and will work hard to fulfil it. She is, quite simply, the best.”

He stated that the company planned to introduce Turner’s work to new audiences, particularly through streaming and music-focused social media platforms such as TikTok.

“The protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal for me, as it is for any artist,” Turner said in a statement.

“I am confident that my work is in professional and trustworthy hands with BMG and Warner Music.”

The actress has been largely retired since 2009, but interest in her work has risen as a result of the 2021 HBO documentary Tina and a West End musical based on her life, Tina.

She is the latest artist to cash in on the value of their back catalogue, following in the footsteps of Blondie, Shakira, and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac.

Last year, Universal Music Group paid close to $400 million (£295 million) for Bob Dylan’s entire songbook, while Neil Young made around $150 million (£110 million) by selling a 50 percent stake in his music to London-based investment firm Hipgnosis.

The deals guarantee a windfall for superstar artists and writers, while the new owners collect royalties every time the songs are streamed, sold, or used in films.

The pandemic appears to have accelerated the trend, with rock legend David Crosby admitting in March that he was forced to sell his songs to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group due to his “inability to play live.”

“I can’t work … and streaming stole my record money,” he explained in a tweet while the deal was being negotiated.

“I have a family and a mortgage and I have to take care of them so it’s my only option… I’m sure the others feel the same.”

SourceBBC
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