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Neil Diamond sells entire song catalog to Universal Music Group

Neil Diamond is the latest music legend to sell his song catalog and the rights to all recordings from his career to Universal Music Group. UMG, which represents the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Adele and Kanye West, did not disclose the value of the deal. But it follows a similar string of acquisitions from Sting’s music earlier this month for a reported $250 million, to Bob Dylan’s catalogue for over $300 million in 2020. Diamond’s pact includes rights to all recordings from his career, 110 unreleased tracks and an unreleased album. Universal said it will also release Diamond’s future music, should he decide to return to the studio. Diamond, 81, has sold more than 130 million albums with hit songs including “Sweet Caroline,” Red Red Wine” and “I’m A Believer.” Musicians such as Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash have covered some of Diamond’s biggest hits and his music has also been used in the film and TV industry for shows like “Friends” and “The Simpsons.” The deal marks the continuation of a trend of a long string of established artists selling their songbooks to big-pocketed investors or music labels. They’re also fueled by streaming, which offers the possibility of more lucrative royalties as customers flock to services like Spotify and Apple Music. And deals have ramped up during the coronavirus pandemic due in part to low interest rates that make it easier for companies to borrow money to purchase large assets. While artists get a big payday, musical labels get master rights of legendary musicians’ work. In recent months, David Bowie’s estate sold his music catalog for $250 million to Warner Chappell Music, the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, and late last year, ZZ Top sold its music catalog to investment firm KKR and record company BMG for $50 million. Just weeks before Bruce Springsteen sold his iconic song and publishing catalog to Sony Music for a whopping $500 million.

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