Neil Young Sells 50% of Songwriting Catalogue

The rights to half of Young's songbook are now owned by Merck Mercuriadis' Hipgnosis

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jan 6, 2021

Joining Lindsey Buckingham and Jimmy Iovine, Neil Young has now struck a deal with Hipgnosis Songs Fund, selling off half of his songwriting catalogue to the Merck Mercuriadis-helmed firm.

Young has sold 50 percent of the worldwide copyright and income interests of his 1,180-song catalogue to Hipgnosis, though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"I bought my first Neil Young album aged seven," Mercuriadis said in a statement. "Harvest was my companion and I know every note, every word, every pause and silence intimately. Neil Young, or at least his music, has been my friend and constant ever since."

Mercuriadis added that he is well aware of Young's anti-commercial stance when it comes to the use of his music, perhaps best captured on the title track of 1988's This Note's for You: "Ain't singin' for Pepsi / Ain't singin' for Coke / I don't sing for nobody / Makes me look like a joke."

"I built Hipgnosis to be a company Neil would want to be a part of," he continued. "We have a common integrity, ethos and passion born out of a belief in music and these important songs. 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."

Young's catalogue deal also follows similar moves from Stevie Nicks and Bob Dylan. Last year, Nicks sold 80 percent of her publishing rights to Hipgnosis rival Primary Wave for around $80 million USD, while Dylan sold his entire catalog to Universal for reportedly over $300 million.

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