Seems Neil Diamond is a believer…in cashing in his song rights. The legendary singer-songwriter has signed a deal to hand over rights to his entire song catalog, as well as all recordings, to Universal Music Group (UMG) for an undisclosed sum.
The deal, announced by Diamond and UMG on Monday, includes master and recording rights for all of Diamond’s hits, such as Sweet Caroline, Red Red Wine, Solitary Man, Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon, and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, many of which are best known in their cover versions by other artists.
The agreement includes 110 unreleased tracks, an unreleased album and archival long form videos. UMG has also secured the rights to record and release any of Diamond’s future music, should he decide to return to the studio.
Universal and Diamond have been in business for decades. The singer’s early Bang recordings and post-1972 recordings were with UMG’s MCA Records, a period that included chart-toppers Sweet Caroline, Cracklin’ Rosie and Song Sung Blue. Since 2013, UMG and Diamond have produced three albums for the non-MCA recordings through UMG’s Capitol Music Group division and Universal Music Enterprises. Universal has been Diamond’s publishing administrator since 2014.
“Neil Diamond is, by definition, a truly universal songwriter. His immense songbook and recordings encompass some of the most cherished and enduring songs in music history,” said UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge in a statement. “Through our existing partnership, we are honored to have earned his trust to become the permanent custodians of his monumental musical legacy.”
Diamond’s all-rights deal with UMG follows similar catalog licensing agreements between the label and superstar artists including Bob Dylan and Sting.
Earlier this year, the estate of the late British popster David Bowie sold global publishing rights to his entire song catalog to Warner Chappell Music.
Singer-songwriter Neil Young, former Fleetwood Mac artists Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks has also signed similar deals.
Music publishing companies are betting there is major value in song catalogs, which can be licensed to TV, movie, streaming and video games worldwide.