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Neil Young sells half his music rights for ‘$150 million’

Neil Young sells half his music rights for ‘$150 million’ as he becomes latest star to strike gold after Stevie Nicks and Bob Dylan made similar deals

Neil Young has sold the rights to 50 per cent of his music in a deal that has reportedly earned him $150 million.

The Heart Of Gold hitmaker, 75, has relinquished half the copyright and income interests to 1,180 of his songs to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund, the investment firm revealed on Wednesday.

He follows in the footsteps of Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks, the Fleetwood Mac star who is said to have made a deal with Primary Wave – selling an 80 per cent stake in her music for $100 million last month.

Deal: Neil Young (pictured in 2015) has sold 50 PER CENT of the rights to his music for ‘$150 million’, it was revealed on Wednesday, after Stevie Nicks and Bob Dylan did the same

Bob, meanwhile, sold the publishing rights to over 600 songs to Universal Music Publishing Group for a reported sum of between $300 million and $500 billion. 

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, shared his delight at making the deal with Neil on Wednesday, saying he bought his first album when he was seven years old.

He gushed over one of Young’s albums: ‘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 ever since.’

Selling up: Last month Stevie (pictured in 2014) is said to have made a deal with Primary Wave, reportedly selling an 80 per cent stake in her music for $100 million

Selling up: Last month Stevie (pictured in 2014) is said to have made a deal with Primary Wave, reportedly selling an 80 per cent stake in her music for $100 million

Huge sum: Bob (pictured in 2012) sold the publishing rights to over 600 songs to Universal Music Publishing Group for a reported sum of between $300 million and $500 billion

Huge sum: Bob (pictured in 2012) sold the publishing rights to over 600 songs to Universal Music Publishing Group for a reported sum of between $300 million and $500 billion

Mercuriadis went on to say his company and the singer ‘have a common integrity, ethos and passion born out of a belief in music and these important songs. 

Referencing the singer’s decision to turn down the use of his hit Heart of Gold in a 1970s radio advert, Mercuriadis said: ‘We won’t waste our time going after McDonald’s. 

‘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.’

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. 

Companies generally push for use of an artist’s songs in movies, video games and advertising, Young has previously strongly criticised artists letting their music be used in ads in his song The Note’s For You.

Despite his reservations, it has become much more common for musicians to earn income through advertising campaigns. 

During his career, which has spanned almost six decades, Neil has released a staggering 70 albums as both a solo musician and with bands like Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. 

Wow! Neil (pictured in 1976) has relinquished half the copyright and income interests to 1,180 of his songs to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund, he has released 70 albums over the years

Wow! Neil (pictured in 1976) has relinquished half the copyright and income interests to 1,180 of his songs to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund, he has released 70 albums over the years

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