Legendary Canadian singer and songwriter Neil Young has sold 50% of the copyright of his music catalog, comprising about 1,180 songs, to the British investment company Hipgnosis Songs Fund, the firm announces.
The agreement, whose details have not been released, comes a month after Bob Dylan sold his rights to some 600 songs to the group Universal Music Publishing for between 300 and 500 million dollars (between 244 and 406 million euros).
The magazine ‘Variety’, which cites an “industry source”, indicates that the sale of a portion of Young’s copyright cost about 50 million dollars (around 40 million euros), and that the musician will maintain his ability to authorize the use of his songs in publicity campaigns or political events, among others.
In the last American elections Young sued Donald Trump’s election 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 generally use these acquired music funds to sell them for use in movies, video games and commercial advertising.
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 albums as a solo artist and as part of groups like Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse, and Crosby, Still, Nash and Young. That production over six decades includes almost 50 studio albums and more than 20 with live performances, of which 18 have been declared ‘gold record’, 7 platinum and 3 multiplatinum.
He is also the author of the song ‘This Note’s For You’, from 1988, in which he criticized other artists who sold or rented their music for advertising campaigns, and the corresponding video made a parody of commercials in which Michael Jackson appeared, Whitney Houston and Eric Clapton.
Part of the lyrics for 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 Coca. I don’t sing for 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 their songs will not be used for hamburger promotion any.