Mick Fleetwood goes his own way with BMG rights deal

Mick Fleetwood has sold his share of future royalties derived from Fleetwood Mac songs to music company BMG, highlighting the increasingly fragmented nature of the market for lucrative song rights as individual artists strike their own deals.

The drummer, who co-founded the band in the 1960s, is the third member of the group to sell a share of its royalties in the past six weeks but each has gone their own way by making agreements with different companies.

Primary Wave, the US fund, acquired a majority share of the Stevie Nicks catalogue in a deal reported to be worth between $80m and $100m in December, while Hipgnosis, the UK-listed fund, bought out the rights to Lindsey Buckingham’s song book last week for an undisclosed sum.

Artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Shakira have cashed in on the feeding frenzy for rights in recent months, striking deals with specialist funds, music labels and private equity buyers looking to invest in lucrative back catalogues that have boomed in value in the streaming age. The latest Fleetwood deal illustrates the complexity of the music market with multiple companies now owning part of the royalty streams to hits such as “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way”.

“Dreams”, the Stevie Nicks-penned song that was streamed 3.2bn times on TikTok last year when a video that used it went viral, reflects the different type of royalty rights that are being sold by artists.

Primary Wave cited the hit when it bought Stevie Nicks’ publishing rights — which pay off when a song is played and also covered by another artist, played live or used by advertisers or in a film or television show. BMG also flagged “Dreams” as it announced its own deal, but it has instead acquired Mick Fleetwood’s share of future royalties on the original recording that take the largest cut when the song is streamed or played.

It did not say what it paid for Mr Fleetwood’s rights, which include 300 songs stretching back to the 1960s when the band that bears his name was a British blues act. The German music company, part of the Bertelsmann media conglomerate, said it was its largest acquisition for two years.

Mick Fleetwood said: “This is a wonderfully inspiring marriage between two creative partners that understand all aspects of the business.”

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