Neil Young joins rights harvest with sale of half his songbook

FILE PHOTO: Recording artist Young poses for a portrait while promoting his upcoming album "Earth" in Calabasas

(Reuters) – Singer-songwriter Neil Young has sold a half share of the rights to his entire catalogue of 1,180 songs to London-listed specialist investment firm Hipgnosis Songs Fund, the company said on Wednesday.

Young, 75, famed for songs including “Heart Of Gold”, “Rocking In The Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk”, has released over 50 studio albums and 20 live albums, of which seven went platinum and three multi-platinum.

“I bought my first Neil Young album aged seven,” said Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis, saying the latest in a series of such rights deals would change his company for ever.

“‘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,” he added.

The deal is the third that Hipgnosis, listed on the stock market in 2018, has struck this week after agreements with Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham on Tuesday and record producer Jimmy Iovine on Monday.

It follows the sale last month of Bob Dylan’s entire back catalogue to Universal Music Group.

The rise of streaming services means artists such as Dylan and Young are able to reach an ever-expanding audience of fans from a younger generation.

Financial details of the Young deal were not disclosed. Mercuriadis, a former music manager, said: “We will work together to make sure everyone gets to hear them (the songs) on Neil’s terms.”

Last month, Young ended his lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign for playing of two of his songs at campaign rallies without permission.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir and Jan Harvey)

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