Tucked away in a stately building in New Jersey, a copy of “The Boss” is waiting for you.
Bruce Springsteen’s massive trove of music, three of which were reissued earlier this year on digitally re-mastered masters, is not only signed, it’s for sale, Billboard reported on Wednesday.
The sale, according to a New Jersey Superior Court document, is part of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit between the singer and the sale of his long-lived catalog to distributor NPD Music Group, which sold it to Capitol Music Group in 2008, according to Billboard. The Warner Music Group-owned label is suing NPD to get the titles back, the seller’s attorney said.
The catalog, which was obtained by NPD from Musician’s Friend, allegedly has “at least nine songs that have sold a million units or more. These include” “Born to Run,” “She’s the One,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” “The Rising,” “Born in the U.S.A.” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” Billboard reported.
Producer Jon Landau, the Springsteen spokesman and a former E Street Band manager, told Billboard that he didn’t think the holding company Black Sheep had a license to sell the music.
“Bruce has previously told me that he sold everything from the very beginning and that all the music belongs to him,” Landau said.
A court document doesn’t yet reveal the sale price, but NPD is asking that the judge rule the contract with the singer is void. Billboard reports that NPD was close to obtaining Springsteen’s music before the dispute arose, and the company has said they had ordered a copy of “Born to Run” and other vinyl with encore performances not recorded live in 2012, the year that Springsteen recorded his re-releases. The cost of the recordings, totaling more than 2,000 hours of music, was more than $300,000, according to Billboard.
But that wasn’t all to come. The recording rights “shall only be returned to defendant when purchaser has pre-authorized a copy of all of plaintiff’s music to be made available to the public and it will be priced at the prevailing retail sale price of any defendant — the lowest selling pressings of music at a particular time,” the court document said.
Reports say the deal with Capitol involved more than 70 years of recordings. It’s unclear what the legal battle has to do with the original contract.
Springsteen’s publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment.