Neil Diamond has become the latest in a growing wave of veteran musicians selling their song catalogs for cash. Bob Dylan recently sold his catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group, and now Diamond has done the same. Ben Sisario writes for the New York Times Service:
Bob Dylan. Bruce Springsteen. Paul Simon. Neil Young. Stevie Nicks. All have sold their music catalogs over the past year and a half for huge sums, part of a broad transference of the ownership of a generation’s music from artists to corporations and investors. But is there any big game left?
One giant was hiding in plain sight: Neil Diamond, 81, the singer and songwriter of ubiquitous hits like “Sweet Caroline,” “Song Sung Blue” and “Cracklin’ Rosie.” The Universal Music Group announced Monday that it had acquired the star’s entire songwriting catalog, as well as the rights to his recordings. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Diamond’s work as a songwriter is particularly valuable, not only for his own recordings but for the many cover versions of his songs that have become hits by other artists, like “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees, “Red Red Wine” by UB40 and Urge Overkill’s version of “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.”
The 1977 song “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” written by Diamond with Marilyn and Alan Bergman, had a notable double life. After Diamond’s solo version, Barbra Streisand covered it in 1978, and radio DJs stitched together a duet from those two recordings; an official edit was released later that year and went to No. 1.
In 2018, Diamond announced that he had Parkinson’s disease and was retiring from touring.
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