Universal Picks Up Another Huge Music Catalog

Music group just bought the rights to Neil Diamond's song collection, including 'Sweet Caroline'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2022 10:30 AM CST
Universal Picks Up Another Huge Music Catalog
In this Feb. 11, 2017, file photo, Neil Diamond performs at Clive Davis' and the Recording Academy's Pre-Grammy Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Universal Music Group has been on a shopping spree. First it scooped up the rights to Bob Dylan's lyrics and compositions, then Sting's song catalog, and now it's got a new acquisition to brag about. The music corporation has purchased the rights to Neil Diamond's entire song catalog, in addition to his recordings, though it's not clear how much the deal was for, per The Hollywood Reporter. The arrangement, announced by UMG and Diamond on Monday, includes master and recording rights for all of the 81-year-old singer-songwriter's hits, including "Sweet Caroline," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (a duet Diamond performed with Barbra Streisand), "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon," and "Red Red Wine."

The Wall Street Journal reports the deal was struck during a time when artists are selling their catalogs for up to 30 times the value of their average annual royalties. Although the numbers behind this deal are still under wraps, the paper notes that Bob Dylan released his catalog for somewhere between $300 million to $400 million, while Sting reportedly took in about $300 million for his own. Diamond's agreement with UMG will include more than 100 unreleased tracks and an unreleased album, as well as any future tunes if he should ever head back into the studio.

The New York Times notes that Diamond's songs aren't known only for the ones he performed, but also for the covers they spawned, including the Monkees' "I'm a Believer," UB40's "Red Red Wine," and Urge Overkill's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon," which appeared on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. In a statement, Diamond expressed confidence that Universal will "continue to represent my catalog, and future releases with the same passion and integrity that have always fueled my career." In his own statement, UMG CEO Lucian Grainge praised Diamond as a "truly universal songwriter," with "some of the most cherished and enduring songs in music history," per THR. (Read more Neil Diamond stories.)

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