American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond has signed over his entire song catalogue and recordings to music industry heavyweight Universal Music Group (UMG), with the sum of the deal yet to be disclosed.
The Sweet Caroline singer and UMG, who has been Diamond’s publishing administrator since 2014, announced news of the unexpected deal on Monday, February 28, with the terms of the agreement including UMG’s rights to 110 unreleased tracks, an unreleased album, a series of archival longform videos and of course, Diamond’s entire music catalogue including mega hit songs Solitary Man, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Red Red Wine among many more well-known hits from the star.
Diamond and UMG have long conducted business together, with Diamond having recorded his early tracks and post-1972 recordings with UMG’s MCA Records as well as “producing three other albums for the non-MCA recordings through UMG’s Capitol Music Group division and Universal Music Enterprises” as revealed by The Hollywood Reporter. Amongst the tracks Diamond recorded included are his hugely popular hit songs Sweet Caroline, Cracklin’ Rosie, I Am…I Said and Song Sung Blue.
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UMG chairman and CEO, Lucian Grainge, released a statement revealing the company’s “honour” upon becoming the singer’s “permanent custodians”.
“Neil Diamond is, by definition, a truly universal songwriter,” praised Grainge.
“His immense songbook and recordings encompass some of the most cherished and enduring songs in music history.
“Through our existing partnership, we are honored to have earned his trust to become the permanent custodians of his monumental musical legacy.”
UMG currently has a number of other global super artists under their wing, with musical star Sting having secured a similar agreement with UMG. Agreements such as these between artists and labels are fast becoming the norm, with many other musical talents signing over their song catalogues to major record companies. In January 2022, the estate of famous English singer-songwriter David Bowie sold global publishing rights to his entire song catalogue to American music and publishing company, Warner Chapel Music. This year, Bob Dylan also sold his entire catalogue of recorded music as well as “the rights to multiple future new releases” to Sony Music Entertainment (SME), in the music industry’s latest high-profile acquisition.
Former members of iconic rock band Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks recently sold their publishing rights to high-ranking labels, with Buckingham selling 100 per cent of his publishing rights to Hipgnosis and Nicks selling 80 per cent of her publishing rights to Hipgnosis’s rival company, Primary Wave for an approximate sum of $80 million.
Diamond’s career kicked off in 1965 when he signed a record contract with Bang Records which saw the release of his very first album, The Feel of Neil. In 1966, Diamond wrote the hit song I’m A Believer which was made famous by the band The Monkees in 1967. Diamond later signed a new recording contract with Uni Records, owned by MCA Inc. where he recorded and released some of his biggest hit songs to date.
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Diamond announced that he was retiring from touring in 2018 after being diagnosed with the life-changing medical condition, Parkinson’s Disease. In a statement from the singer to fans, Diamond expressed his disappointment upon having to step down from touring.
“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” he said.
“I have been so honoured to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows. I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come.”