World-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has signed an exclusive, expanded global recording agreement with Universal Music Group spanning multiple albums, it was announced today. The deal marks Bocelli’s first direct signing with UMG following a long collaboration with the company, which has distributed his music on the UMG-owned Decca Records for over 25 years.
Under the agreement, which is being billed as a partnership and the start of a “new era” in the relationship between Bocelli and UMG, will encompass a series of recorded music and audiovisual services, synchronization and music-related merchandising.
In the U.S. alone, Bocelli has sold 26.7 million albums and registered 614.9 million streams for his songs, according to MRC Data. He also boasts a record 20 No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Classical Albums chart, beginning with Viaggio Italiano in 1998 through to his most recent studio album, Believe, which was released in Nov. 2020. Nine of his albums have also reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200, with one No. 1, 2018’s Si, which debuted in the top spot and held it for one week.
Over the course of his career, Bocelli has been nominated for six Grammys, six Latin Grammys and won seven Classical BRITs, among other honors. In April 2020, his Music for Hope performance from Milan’s Duomo cathedral peaked with over 2.8 million concurrent viewers, breaking the record for the largest simultaneous audience for a classical live stream ever on YouTube. It went on to garner 28 million views worldwide in its first 24 hours and has been viewed 42 million times to date. Bocelli’s last studio album, Believe, was accompanied by the live stream “Believe in Christmas,” which sold over 70,000 tickets to fans from 120 countries. On Wednesday (Oct. 13), he kicked off his U.S. arena tour in Milwaukee.
In a statement, Bocelli called the new partnership “confirmation” of his and UMG’s “solid and well-established collaborative relationship.” He continued, “Fully joining the artist stable of the largest record company in the world is the culmination of a dream, but it is also a bit like returning home, because in UMG I have always found that family dimension that is ideal, even in the artistic field, to give the best of oneself.”
Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge said, “We look forward to putting the global organization to work on Andrea’s behalf, ensuring his new-music and brilliant catalog are enjoyed by his millions of fans and discovered by millions more.” Through the partnership, added UMG executive vp Michele Anthony, the company will help Bocelli “to continue to reach and inspire new audiences globally and constantly redefine the boundaries of classical music.”