Neil Young Strikes Massive Deal to Sell Half of His Music Catalog

by Emily Morgan

Singer-songwriter Neil Young has sold half of the rights to his song catalog to an investment firm known as Hipgnosis. 

The news comes after the firm acquired catalogs by former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsay Buckingham and music producer Jimmy Iovine.

As reported by The Guardian, Young’s deal covers his entire song catalog of 1,180 compositions. The firm also gets 50 percent of the worldwide copyright and income for an undisclosed amount.

The London-based firm founded by Merck Mercuriadis went public in 2018 to “offer investors a pure-play exposure to songs and associated musical intellectual property rights.”

“I bought my first Neil Young album at age 7,” said Mercuriadis, who previously managed artists such as Elton John, Beyoncé, and Guns N’ Roses. “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.”

Hipgnosis Vows to ‘Work Together’ With Neil Young

In the past, the company has used its music catalog in film, television, and advertising. However, Young has been vocal about his disdain for using his music in commercials. “I built Hipgnosis to be a company Neil would want to be a part of,” Mercuriadis said. “We have a common integrity, ethos and passion born out of a belief in music and these important songs.”

Referencing a Young comment about how an undisclosed company had asked him to use his song “Heart of Gold” in a commercial, he added: “There will never be a ‘Burger of Gold,’ but we will work together to make sure everyone gets to hear his songs on Neil’s terms. There’s a good chance their life will be changed just like mine was.”

Before Young’s deal, Hipgnosis also struck an agreement with Buckingham, giving the company 100 percent of his entire catalog’s music publishing rights.

They also agreed to a 50 percent share of any unreleased compositions. 

The deal also acquired 100 percent of Iovine’s catalog, “comprising 259 songs and his film production royalties for 8 Mile and Get Rich or Die Tryin.”