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Neil Young sells 50% of his song catalog to UK investment firm

Kate Feldman
New York Daily News

Neil Young has become the latest artist to sell publishing rights to his music during a calamitous era of the industry where concerts have been made impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 75-year-old Canadian rocker has sold half of his catalog, totaling more than 1,180 songs, to a British investment company, the firm announced Wednesday.

“I bought my first Neil Young album aged 7. ‘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,” Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said in a statement.

Neil Young

“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.”

The “Burger of Gold” reference, a play on Young’s “Heart of Gold,” alludes to the singer’s long-time aversion to allowing his music to be used in advertising campaigns. His 1988 “This Note’s For You” criticized colleagues for making similar deals, including a music video that parodied Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton.

“Ain’t singin’ for Pepsi, ain’t singin’ for Coke. I don’t sing for nobody. Makes me look like a joke,” Young sang.

The financial terms of the sale were not disclosed, but Stevie Nicks recently sold her catalog for an estimated $100 million, while a Los Angeles-based investment firm snapped up Taylor Swift’s early recording catalog for more than $300 million.

Lindsey Buckingham sold his publishing rights, including the Fleetwood Mac catalog, to Hipgnosis Tuesday.