Tag Archives: Sony

On the Potential Commercialization of Bruce Springsteen

And here you have it:

NEW YORK – December 16, 2021 – Sony Music Group today announced it has acquired Bruce Springsteen’s entire recorded music and songwriting catalogs through separate agreements. The two agreements cover the recorded music and music publishing rights to all of Springsteen’s songs, including “Born to Run,” “Born In The USA” “Dancing in the Dark” “Glory Days,” “The River,” “Hungry Heart,” “Brilliant Disguise” and “I’m On Fire,” among many others. Sony Music Publishing partnered with Eldridge on the songwriting catalog purchase.

And the news release goes on from there, including a quote from Springsteen: “I am one artist who can truly say that when I signed with Columbia Records in 1972, I came to the right place. During the last 50 years, the men and women of Sony Music have treated me with the greatest respect as an artist and as a person. I’m thrilled that my legacy will continue to be cared for by the Company and people I know and trust.”

A few things.

First know that Springsteen is 72 years old, and according to the Social Security Administration, a 72-year-old has a life expectancy of 13.25 years.

It is reported that the purchase is on the order of $550 million. Presumably, that would be liable to the 37% federal tax rate, which would leave him with $346,500,000.

Serious walking around money.

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The Model 500 and the Physicality of Music

Western Electric invented the Model 500 telephone. That’s the telephone with a handset cradled on the top of the device and a rotary dial on the front. It is the telephone that is the pre-21st century dictionary image of what a “telephone” would look like.

It brought the Model 500 out in 1950. The classic desk phone.

But Western Electric also invented something that is more pertinent to this space: the method by which music could be recorded with a microphone, amplified, then used to create records. Columbia and Victor licensed the technology from Western Electric and began producing records with it in 1925.

And in time, the recorded disc, which became commonly known as “vinyl” became the dominant musical recording medium.

Then it suffered the fate of the Model 500.

However, unlike the Model 500, the vinyl disc is having a resurgence. Last week Sony Music announced that for the first time since 1989 it is going to begin pressing records again.

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