The sale is said to include an unreleased album, “archival long form videos,” and 110 unreleased tracks.
Photo: Neil Diamond performing live. Photo Credit: Irisgerh / CC by 2.0
28 February 2022 | Dylan Smith | Digital Music News
Universal Music announced this latest music-IP play – which comes about two weeks after the company’s reportedly $300 million song-rights deal with Sting – via a formal release this morning.
The Big Three label now owns the entire publishing catalog of Brooklyn-born Neil Diamond, as mentioned, in addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s recordings.
Also included in the transaction are an unreleased album, “archival long form videos,” and a noteworthy 110 unreleased tracks. (Higher-ups didn’t disclose supplementary information, including a possible release window, about these unreleased projects.)
Worth highlighting is that Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) had served as Diamond’s publishing administrator since 2014; the year likewise saw the longtime Columbia artist release a project (Melody Road) via UMG’s Capitol. Today’s multimillion-dollar pact also encompasses future recordings, should the 81-year-old “decide to return to the studio.”
Having arrived on the scene with 1966’s The Feel of Neil Diamond, Diamond has recorded and written well-known tracks such as 1967’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” 1969’s “Sweet Caroline,” 1970’s “Cracklin’ Rosie,” and 1979’s “Forever in Blue Jeans,” to name just some.
The one-time Grammy winner, whose 13 nominations date back to the award show’s 1972 edition and final ABC telecast, has sold north of 130 million albums and boasts about 6.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Addressing the sale in a brief statement, the Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Neil Diamond said: “After nearly a decade in business with UMG, I am thankful for the trust and respect that we have built together and I feel confident in the knowledge that Lucian, Jody, Bruce, Michelle and the global team at UMG, will continue to represent my catalogue, and future releases with the same passion and integrity that have always fueled my career.”
Regarding the major label’s plans for Diamond’s body of work, execs indicated that they are “determined that new and growing audiences will remember this unmatched singer and his music for generations to come.” However, UMG relayed that it will spearhead related initiatives “through ongoing collaboration with the artist himself.”
Besides the previously noted deal between Universal Music and Sting, February has delivered catalog sales from Jason Aldean (a reportedly $100 million agreement with Spirit Music Group), the estate of Larry Smith, and Alice in Chains (a reportedly $50 million contract with Round Hill Music).
Additionally, Warner Music Group and BlackRock invested a combined total of $750 million to buy the rights to “modern evergreens,” and KKR created a $1.13 billion bond backed by catalogs.