According to the BBC, investment firm Hipgnosis Song Fund has acquired the rights to 1,180 songs from Neil Young, 50 percent of the catalogue, for 150 million dollars, or 121 million euros.
The Hipgnosis Song Fund, which allows anyone to invest in musical hits, has previously acquired rights to songs from the likes of Mark Ronson, Blondie, Chic and Barry Manilow. In a statement, the company's founder, Merck Mercuriadis, said that Hipgnosis Song Fund and Neil Young share the same "integrity, ethics and passion, based on a trust in music", and that they will work together "so that everyone hears [the songs] and in Neil's terms". Neil Young, 75, has more than 70 albums published, solo and in band, notably with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and is the author of songs such as "Heart of Gold", "Rockin' in the free world", "Harvest Moon".
This agreement comes a month after record label Universal Music unveiled the purchase of American musician Bob Dylan's complete catalogue, in a historic agreement that includes copyright of 600 themes, over a period of 60 years. This agreement was presented as one of the largest acquisitions of all publishing rights in a single act ever, and is estimated to have cost between 300 million and 500 million dollars (between 243 and 400 million euros). Also, last December, Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks sold the rights to her compositions to Primary Wave for an estimated $100 million (81 million euros). As for the agreement on Neil Young's songs, it remains to be ascertained whether the contract allows the use of the catalogue, for example, for advertising content, a practice that the Canadian musician has always rejected.