FILE - In this May 25, 2019, file photo, Neil Young performs at the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival at Napa Valley Expo in Napa, Calif. Young has become the latest artist to strike gold with his song catalog. The Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a British investment company, announced that it had acquired a 50 percent stake in Young's catalog of some 1,180 songs that include "Heart of Gold," "Rockin’ in the Free World" and "Cinnamon Girl." (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

Neil Young becomes latest artist to sell stake in his songs

NEW YORK — Neil Young has become the latest musician to strike gold with his song catalogue, selling a 50 per cent stake in his music to a British investment company in a deal announced on Wednesday.

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.”

Terms were not disclosed.

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 per cent stake in her music to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million.

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said that he bought his first Neil Young album when he was seven years old.

“’Harvest’ was my companion and I know every note, every word, every pause and silence intimately,” he said. “Neil Young, or at least his music, has been my friend … ever since.”

The businessman also said Young’s late manager, Elliot Roberts, was equally an idol to him.

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. The accompanying video parodied ads that featured Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton.

In the song, Young sang: “Ain’t singin’ for Pepsi, ain’t singin’ for Coke. I don’t sing for nobody. Makes me look like a joke.”

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.

It was unclear whether the Hipgnosis deal augers a change in that policy.

In Wednesday’s announcement, Mercuriadis said that his company and Young “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 has released some 70 albums as a solo artist and with bands like Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

David Bauder, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

President Donald Trump speaks near a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Alamo, Texas. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP)
Trump bids farewell to Washington, hints of comeback

‘We will be back in some form’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, January 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada in touch with Biden admin about disputed oil pipeline

Premier Jason Kenney says ‘rescinding the Keystone XL border crossing permit would damage the Canada-US bilateral relationship’

The wreckage of a fatal crash involing the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus outside Tisdale, Sask., is seen on Saturday, April, 7, 2018. A number of Broncos parents are angry there has been little action on seatbelts on buses since the crash that killed 16 people and injured 13. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden are joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff during a COVID-19 memorial event at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
All eyes on the United States as Canadians tune in to Joe Biden’s inauguration

Thousands of National Guard troops deployed ahead of the event

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem takes part in a news conference at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa on December 15, 2020. Canada’s central bank will update its economic forecast for the country that will offer a window when it expects a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to take hold. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bank of Canada to update economic outlook with first rate announcement of 2021

0.25 per cent policy rate expected to be maintained

FIL - In this Nov. 7, 2020, file photo Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks in Wilmington, Del. Harris will make history Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, when she becomes the nation’s first Black, South Asian and female vice president. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Vice-President Harris: A new chapter opens in US politics

Harris moves into the vice presidency just four years after arriving in Washington as a California senator

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole, front, picks up the puck as St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn defends durg the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
NHL pulls microchipped ‘tracking’ pucks 6 days into season

The first 44 games were played with the ‘tracking’ pucks

Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Premier League-Darren Goldstein
CPL targets season kickoff on Victoria Day Weekend, providing authorities agree

The hope is to have each of the eight teams play a normal 28-game season

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows director/writer/producer John Lee Hancock, center, and Jared Leto on the set of “The Little Things.” (Nicola Goode/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)
Washington, Malek and Leto face off in ‘The Little Things’

‘The Little Things’ opens in theatres and on HBO Max on Jan. 29

FILE - In this Aug. 20, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, speaks with reporters in New York after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)
Trump pardons ex-strategist Steve Bannon, dozens of others

Last-minute clemency announced after midnight on Wednesday

Winnipeg Jets left wing Nikolaj Ehlers (27) scores the game-winning goal past Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) during overtime in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ehlers scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets rally for 4-3 win over Ottawa Senators

Ehlers scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets rally for 4-3 win over Ottawa Senators

Canadian women's soccer team member Rhian Wilkinson is seen during a training session in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canada Soccer coach Rhian Wilkinson joins England women’s coaching staff

Former Canada Soccer coach Rhian Wilkinson joins England women’s coaching staff

Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Premier League-Darren Goldstein **MANDATORY CREDIT**
CPL targets season kickoff on Victoria Day Weekend, providing authorities agree

CPL targets season kickoff on Victoria Day Weekend, providing authorities agree

Most Read