Neil Younger sells 50% of publishing rights to his whole tune catalog to UK funding fund
Neil Young performs at Festival d’ete de Quebec on July 6, 2018 in Quebec City, Canada.
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Legendary folk rocker Neil Young has sold 50% of his song catalog to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a U.K. investment vehicle founded by music industry veteran Merck Mercuriadis.
The deal gives Hipgnosis the rights to the worldwide copyright and income interests from 1,180 songs composed by Young, and has been reported to have cost around $150 million.
“I bought my first Neil Young album aged 7. ‘Harvest’ was my companion and I know every note, every word, every pause and silence intimately,” former talent manager Mercuriadis said in a statement Wednesday.
“Neil Young, or at least his music, has been my friend and constant ever since.”
Hipgnosis floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2018 and acquires music royalties with a view to generating income streams. On Tuesday, the fund announced that it had acquired the entire catalog of Fleetwood Mac lead guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham.
It has also invested in the rights to songs from artists such as Mark Ronson, Chic, Barry Manilow and Blondie.
Young has never licensed any of his songs for commercial use and Mercuriadis indicated that this is unlikely to change.
“I built Hipgnosis to be a company Neil would want to be a part of. We have a common integrity, ethos and passion born out of a belief in music and these important songs,” he said.
“There will never be a ‘Burger Of Gold’ but we will work together to make sure everyone gets to hear them on Neil’s terms.”
This is a reference to Young’s hugely popular song “Heart of Gold,” from the Canadian singer-songwriter’s iconic 1972 album “Harvest.”
Last month, Universal Music Group purchased Bob Dylan’s entire 600-song catalog.