Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Song Catalogs Sold: Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham Cash-In

Neil Young has become the latest musician to strike gold with his song catalogue, selling a 50 percent stake in his music to a British investment company in a deal announced on Wednesday. reports The Associated Press.

The Hipgnosis Songs Fund said it had acquired half of the copyright and income interests in some 1,180 songs written by the 75-year-old rock star, composer of “Heart of Gold,” “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Cinnamon Girl.” The deal reportedly is worth around $150M.

The deal comes a month after Bob Dylan sold publishing rights to more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for a reported fortune of between $300 million and a half billion dollars. Stevie Nicks sold an 80 percent stake in her music to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million.

In an industry where music sales have dwindled and the concert industry is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, song publishing is seen as an increasingly valuable asset. The companies generally push for use of an artist’s songs in movies, video games and advertising.

The latter use has been a sticking point for Young, whose 1988 song “This Note’s For You” sharply criticized artists who leased their music for advertising campaigns. 

In the years since, it has become much more common for musicians to earn income through advertising campaigns. But at least through 2016, Young continued to resist having his music used this way, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

Meanwhile, Hipgnosis has also acquired 100% of Lindsey Buckingham’s publishing rights, including both his publishing and writer’s share, across 161 songs.

Those songs include an array of hits that Buckingham wrote and/or co-wrote for Fleetwood Mac, including Go Your Own Way and The Chain.

As part of its new agreement with Buckingham, announced Tuesday, Hipgnosis also acquires a 50% share of any unreleased compositions.

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