Neil Diamond Sells Song Catalog to Universal Music Group

Neil Diamond has sold off his song catalog, in addition to the rights to all recordings from his career to the Universal Music Group.

Artists including Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Adele and Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) are all represented by UMG. The company did not disclose the value of Diamond’s deal. Earlier this month, Sting sold off his music for a reported $250 million and Bob Dylan hauled in over $300 million for his catalog back in December of 2020.

The deal with UMG includes the rights to all recordings from his career, in addition to 110 unreleased tracks and an unreleased album. Universal intends to release all of Diamond’s future music if he ever decides to return to the studio.

At 81 years old, Diamond has sold more than 130 million albums. Hit songs of his include “Sweet Caroline,” “Red Red Wine” and “I’m A Believer.” Additionally, the likes of Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra have covered songs of his, with tracks having been used in TV and film for shows like “Friends” and “The Simpsons.”

Many will take notice that music legends have been selling off their music like it’s going out of style as of late. They are largely motivated by streaming services, which offers the possibility of more lucrative royalties as customers are utilizing services like Spotify and Apple Music more regularly. The coronavirus pandemic has also lowered interest rates, allowing companies to more easily borrow money to purchase large assets.

In a win-win scenario, artists get their big paydays while music labels get master rights to a legendary musician’s work.

Other notable deals in the music industry that resemble this one include David Bowie’s estate selling his music catalog for $250 million to Warner Chappell Music, ZZ Top’s music catalog being sold to investment firm KKR and record company BMG for $50 million, and Bruce Springsteen’s iconic song and publishing catalog to Sony Music for a staggering $500 million.

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