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Leonard Cohen estate sells late singer's catalogue


The estate of legendary Canadian folk crooner Leonard Cohen has sold the rights to his catalogue for an undisclosed sum. Hipgnosis Song Management, the same company that bought Neil Young’s catalogues, Lindsey Buckingham, Chris Cornell, and Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2021 alone, has kicked off their 2022 by purchasing the rights to Cohen’s material.

Cohen’s catalogue, which has 278 songs officially credited to the late singer, is now wholly or partially owned by Hipgonisis. That includes songwriting ownership of all of Cohen’s material from before 2001 and full ownership of all songs written between 2001 and his 2016 death, according to Variety.

“Leonard wrote words and songs that have changed our lives, none more so obvious than ‘Hallelujah’ but there are so many more that we look forward to reminding the world of on a daily basis,” Hipgnosis co-founder Merck Mercuriadis said in a statement. “He is revered all over the globe because of the magnitude of his work.”

“To now be the custodians and managers of Leonard Cohen’s incomparable songs is a wonderful yet very serious responsibility that we approach with excitement and fully understand the importance of,” Mercuriadis continued.

Slightly complicating the matter is the fact that Cohen had two different publishing companies over the years: Stranger Music publishing is the home to his pre-Y2K music, while Old Ideas publishing houses his work in the new millennium. Even though Stranger Music is where all of Cohen’s most famous work resides, including ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Suzanne’, ‘Everybody Knows’, and ‘Bird on the Wire’, Hipgnosis only owns the songwriting royalties and not the copyrights or the publishing rights.

The latter two are still owned by Cohen’s estate, which means that they will retain control over where Cohen’s music appears in television, film, and other media. But when Cohen’s material gets covered by other artists, that is where Hipgnosis will see the most cash. Since ‘Hallelujah’ remains one of the most covered songs of all time, that one song alone was likely worth the purchase.