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Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham join music rights mega deal spree

Kumutha Ramanathan
·Contributor
·2-min read
Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young performs at the Orange Stage at the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark, July 1, 2016. Picture taken July 1, 2016.  Scanpix Denmark/Nils Meilvang/via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL SALES.
Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young performs at the Orange Stage at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. (Credit: Scanpix Denmark/Nils Meilvang/Reuters)

Rock legend Neil Young is the latest musician to strike a catalogue deal with London-listed Hipgnosis (SONG.L) as it continues its buying spree.

The firm has taken a 50% stake in the Canadian star’s portfolio of 1,180 tracks. He is a prolific songwriter and performer, known for his solo work and with bands, such as Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but experts have estimated a price tag of $150m (£110m).

Hipgnosis (SONG.L) was trading lower 0.3% in London at around 11.45am.

The music company's shares were trading lower on Wednesday. Chart: Yahoo Finance
The music company's shares were trading lower on Wednesday. Chart: Yahoo Finance

“This is a deal that changes Hipgnosis forever,” said Merck Mercuriadis, the company’s founder.

Hipgnosis has also secured a number of other high-profile acquisitions of late, including some of the most famous Fleetwood Mac hits as part of a 100% deal for Lindsey Buckingham’s publishing rights across 161 songs. These include both his publishing and writer’s share.

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Among Buckingham’s writing credits are Fleetwood Mac’s famous songs “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain.”

Hipgnosis, a company that makes money from placing songs in films and TV shows, raised £250m in September to help fund its buying spree, with a pipeline of roughly £1bn.

The acquisition frenzy has hit as music juggernauts increasingly sell off all or portions of their catalogue, including Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks.

With COVID-19 restrictions limiting people’s ability to leave their home, musicians are not able to rely on revenue from concert sales, a significant portion of income for many. A string of sales of music rights and catalogues among top artists is the result.

“It’s amazing the way prices are going [up], after years of music assets being very low priced,” says Guillermo Page, a former record label executive who worked for Sony and Universal, and now teaches in the music program at the University of Miami, told Yahoo Finance. “The multiples we’re seeing right now are two or three times more than what those multiples used to be five or seven years ago. The music industry is generating money.”

WATCH: Bob Dylan sells song-writing catalogue to Universal Music