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Tina Turner sold catalog in reported $50M deal before death at 83

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Icon Tina Turner's death was announced Wednesday. The singer had been in retirement for the last decade of her life, and two years ago, she sold her entire music catalog.

Turner gave the rights to publishing company BMG in what it called its single-largest acquisition of an artist’s music.

"We all know how iconic Tina’s work is," BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch told Rolling Stone in 2021. "When you look at the dimensions Tina’s career has entered even in the last few years between musicals and documentaries, there’s still so much untapped potential with her legacy."

The amount of the deal was not disclosed, but BBC News reported at the time that experts pegged it at around $50 million. 


Tina Turner singing

Tina Turner sold her music catalog to BMG in 2021. (Paul Natkin/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The "Proud Mary" singer said at the time she felt her music was "in reliable hands."

"Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal," Turner said in a statement after the sale. "I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music, my work is in professional and reliable hands."

Included in the deal was her name, image and likeness as well as royalties and publishing rights for her entire catalog, including hits like "What’s Love Got to Do with It," "The Best" and "Private Dancer."

Tina Turner at a concert

Turner died Tuesday at the age of 83. (Rob Verhorst/Redferns / Getty Images)

Turner was following a recent trend of other mega-stars like Bob Dylan, Justin Bieber and Bruce Springsteen who also chose to sell their back catalogs. 

On Wednesday, BMG, calling itself the "custodian of Tina Turner’s music interests," expressed its "deep loss and sadness" over the 83-year-old’s death in a statement on its website.


Tina Turner sitting on her couch

Turner’s net worth was estimated at $250 million this year. (Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"With her the world loses a music legend and a role model," the statement continued. "Our thoughts are with Tina’s husband Erwin Bach and her family and friends."

Masuch said, "There will only ever be one Tina Turner. Her music and her life’s journey touched so many people. We send our condolences to her dear manager and husband Erwin and all those who loved her."


Masuch told Rolling Stone in 2021 that he had a friendship with Turner and her husband, and they had casually discussed a deal. Eventually, he said, her team reached out more formally and three months of negotiations took place.

After the sale, Masuch said the company planned to use social media to introduce Turner to a younger generation.

Tina Turner performing

BMG said it plans to use social media to introduce Turner’s music to younger audiences. (Paul Natkin/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"This isn’t a one-dimensional market anymore," he told Rolling Stone. "With Warner [Music] and Tina, we want to expand reach and influence new audiences. What’s the YouTube strategy, what do we do with TikTok? You have to be far beyond any approach where you’re just releasing a best-of album every four years or selling rights for a documentary."

The "Nutbush City Limits" singer had five platinum albums in her career, including "Private Dancer," which went platinum five times, according to Rolling Stone.

The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll's death was announced Wednesday on Instagram. Turner died Tuesday after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, near Zurich, according to her manager. She became a Swiss citizen a decade ago.


"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner," the statement on social media said. "With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly."

Over her career, Turner sold more than 150 million records. She earned 11 Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. She was inducted again and honored for her solo career in 2005.

Turner launched her career in 1960 with the release of "A Fool in Love." The song hit No. 2 on the Hot R&B Sides chart and No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.


She had an estimated net worth of around $250 million at the time of her death, according to Celebrity Net Worth. 

"Today is a sad day for music and for the world," BMG CEO-designate Thomas Coesfeld added. "We have lost one of music’s supreme talents, an icon for millions, and a great human being. Tina Turner made clear to us her wish that her music and legacy should live on. We — and her countless fans around the world — will ensure that wish is respected."

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