July 31, 2021

Neil Young sells half the rights to his songs

Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young has sold 50% of the copyright of his music catalog, which comprises some 1,180 songs, to the British investment company Hipgnosis Songs Fund, according to the firm.

The deal, the details of which have not been disclosed, comes a month after Bob Dylan sold his rights to some 600 songs to the group Universal Music Publishing for between $ 300 million and $ 500 million (between € 244 million and € 406 million). ).

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Magazine Variety, citing an “industry source,” indicates that the sale of a portion of Young’s copyright cost about $ 50 million (about € 40 million), and that the musician will retain his ability to authorize the use of their songs in publicity campaigns or political events, among others.

In the last US elections, Young sued Donald Trump’s electoral campaign for the unauthorized use of two of his songs, Rockin ‘in the Free World and Devil’s Sidewalk, in numerous campaign events, but the complaint was dismissed.

Among similar deals recently reached by other musicians, singer Stevie Nicks has sold 80% of the rights to her songs to Primary Wave for about $ 100 million (€ 81 million). Companies typically use these acquired music funds to sell for use in movies, video games, and commercial advertising.

Intense musical production

Young, 75, a composer of songs such as “Heart of Gold,” “Helpless,” Like a Hurricane, “Old Man,” “Ohio,” and “Cinnamon Girl,” has produced some 70 solo and part albums. from bands like Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse, and Crosby, Still, Nash and Young.

That production over six decades includes nearly 50 studio albums and more than 20 with live performances, of which 18 have been declared “gold,” 7 platinum, and 3 multi-platinum.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 6, 2018 Neil Young performs on stage for his first time in Quebec City during 2018 Festival d'Ete. - August 4, Neil Young is suing Donald Trump's re-election campaign to try to stop the US president playing his songs at campaign rallies, according to a lawsuit posted on the rocker's website. (Photo by Alice Chiche / AFP)

Neil Young at the Festival d’Et)


He is also the author of the 1988 song “This Note’s For You”, in which he criticized other artists who sold or rented their music for advertising campaigns, and the corresponding video was a parody of commercials featuring Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Eric Clapton.

Part of the lyrics of that song promised “Ain’t singin ‘for Pepsi, ain’t singin’ for Coke. I don’t sing for nobody. Makes me look like a joke”, (I don’t sing for Pepsi, I don’t sing for Coke. I don’t sing to anyone. It makes me look like a buffoon).

The founder and manager of Hipgnosis, Merck Mercuriadis, has indicated in a statement that he had bought his first album from Neil Young when he was seven years old and has assured that his songs will not be used for the promotion of any hamburger.