Hipgnosis is buying big again in 2021.
The song management company and its investment adviser have announced that the latest acquisition is for 50% of Neil Young’s worldwide copyright and income interests in his entire catalogue comprising 1,180 songs.
Founder Merck Mercuriadis said it was a deal that “changes Hipgnosis forever”. The acquisition was estimated to be worth $150m.
There’s a booming market for classic copyrights, including the recent headline-hitting deal by UMG for Bob Dylan’s catalogue. Dolly Parton’s team recently revealed to Music Week plans to strike a deal for her songs.
Merck Mercuriadis, founder of The Family (Music) Limited and Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said: “I bought my first Neil Young album aged seven. 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. Over the last 50 years that friendship took me back to Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush, and guided me forward to On The Beach, Tonight’s The Night, Zuma, Comes A Time, Rust Never Sleeps, Trans, This Notes For You, Freedom, Ragged Glory, Greendale and through each successive album and on to last year’s Colorado. They're part of who I am, they're in many ways responsible for who I’ve become and they're most certainly in my DNA.”
Over his seven-decade long career, Young has received 27 Grammy Award nominations, 28 Juno Award nominations, and has been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – as a solo artist and as a member of Buffalo Springfield.
This is a deal that changes Hipgnosis forever
Mercuriadis added: “I knew I would never be a singer or songwriter myself so my love for Neil also extended to his manager Elliot Roberts, who is sadly no longer with us. Elliot was the template for who I wanted to be. He and Neil were partners in crime and Elliot made sure the art was never compromised and the commerce always maximised. He complemented Neil’s integrity perfectly and together they protected the songs so fiercely that they became important to millions of people all over the world. This was personal conduct that you could aspire to, something you could believe in.
“Somewhere along the way Elliot became a mentor to me and my friend. This allowed me to collide with Neil from time to time and Frank Gironda as well. We had a mutual respect as people whose lives were changed forever by music and particularly by this magical music. With Elliot’s passing last year it was only natural that Frank, who had so ably worked alongside him, would step into his shoes and also as it now turns out logical for Hipgnosis to partner with Neil to ensure his incredible songs reach all corners of the earth. I built Hipgnosis to be a company Neil would want to be a part of. 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. There’s a good chance their life will be changed just like mine was. This is a deal that changes Hipgnosis forever and it’s a dream to welcome Neil, Frank, Bonnie and the team to the Hipgnosis family.”
Hipgnosis has also acquired a catalogue from Lindsey Buckingham, best known as the lead guitarist and vocalist of Fleetwood Mac.
Hipgnosis has now, together with a 25% share acquired in September 2020, acquired 100% of Lindsey Buckingham’s music publishing rights, including his publishing and writer’s share, of his entire catalogue comprising 161 songs, as well as a 50% share of any unreleased compositions.
Mercuriadis said: “Lindsey Buckingham is one of the greatest guitarists, songwriters and producers of all time yet is still so underrated. His work with Fleetwood Mac has brought the world unparalleled joy over the last 45 years and he belongs in any discussion featuring Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney. It’s wonderful to welcome him and his iconic songs both as a solo artist and with Fleetwood Mac to the Hipgnosis family”.
Lindsey Buckingham said: “Prior to arriving at an agreement with Hipgnosis, I had wonderful long conversations with Merck Mercuriadis. I was pleased to find a kindred spirit, someone who’s a big fan of my work in Fleetwood Mac, and an even bigger fan of my solo efforts. I look forward to working with Merck and the whole Hipgnosis team going into the future, and am confident that my body of work will be curated with great heart and insight”.
Subscribers can click here to read our exclusive interview with Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis.