Bruce Springsteen is on a little bit of a work vacation right now. But he won’t be for long. I can tell you that last summer Springsteen signed a new deal with Sony Music for $31 million that will take him until 2027. The deal calls for a number of box sets and greatest hits packages, plus four new albums of material.
For all this, Sony agreed to $31 million total, with $13 million paid up front as an advance. Remember, this money doesn’t include Springsteen’s massive touring income, royalties for radio play, his publishing deal, and so on. This is just so Sony continues to own his catalog. They’re also betting that Springsteen has more classic new work in him. (It’s safe bet.)
Just about no one in the “senior” category of rock and roll has a deal like this. Also, no one else– with maybe the exception of Barbra Streisand– has been with the same record company for an entire career. Bob Dylan, also with Sony (like Bruce and Babs), wandered off the farm in 1976 briefly with a stint at Geffen Records. Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis come close, but they have a few non-Sony/Columbia releases on their resumes.
But Bruce’s situation is unique in that he writes his own music and is not a cover artist. Among rock stars of his generation or even the older one, no one can claim this– not even Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger. For a while McCartney was very prolific, but even he fell behind Springsteen (he’s also a decade younger).
According to the Sony approval memo found in the Wikileaks papers (the Sony hack) Springsteen will also be delivering box sets of “The River,” “Nebraska,” “Born in the USA,” second box set of “Tracks,” as well as greatest hits. He retains the right to sell his downloads of his live concerts himself or through another party if he pays Columbia 12.5% of the gross receipts. And he owns his own master recordings.
Is there a lot that hasn’t been released or officially made available? Oh yes. Just think of how many times Bruce has performed for charity events or as a guest on other artists’ recordings.
The sweetest part? Sony is writing off around $25 million of the unearned balance of Springsteen’s last deal.
Altogether, Sony expects to earn $35 million in worldwide profits from this deal.
In case you were wondering, Bruce will be 78 years old when his entire deal with Sony is over. And still rocking like crazy.