Hipgnosis Song Management has acquired the song catalog of Leonard Cohen, poet, novelist, performer and one of the most influential songwriters of the past 50 years. The Canadian-born artist, who died in 2016 at the age of 82, is inducted into both the Songwriters Hall Of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Hipgnosis has acquired the rights to all 278 songs and derivatives written by Leonard Cohen, including “Hallelujah”, which has been covered over 300 times. As part of those rights, 127 songs come from Cohen’s Stranger Music catalog, for which Hipgnosis acquired the songwriter’s share of the royalties. It covers the period from the beginning of his career until the year 2000 and includes all derivative works, making a total of 211 songs. The company also acquired 100% ownership of the copyright, publisher’s share and songwriter’s share of royalties in the Old Ideas catalog, which consists of all 67 songs plus works. derivatives written by Cohen from 2001 until his death in 2016.
Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The acquisition was made on behalf of Hipgnosis Songs Capital ICAV, a partnership between Hipgnosis Song Management and Blackstone LLP.
The Cohen estate was represented by longtime Leonard Cohen principal Robert Kory, KR Capital Partners and Jonathan Friedman at Stubbs, Alderton and Markiles LLP.
Cohen was born in Montreal in 1934 and released his first studio album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen”, in 1967 and his 15th and final, “Thanks for the Dance”, posthumously in 2019. He began his career as a as poet and novelist. but moved to New York in the mid-1960s to try his luck as a singer-songwriter. Her work first attracted attention when Judy Collins began to cover her classic composition “Suzanne”, which became a hit in 1967. John Hammond, who had also signed or worked closely with Bob Dylan, Aretha Frankli, Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen, signed him to Columbia Records in 1967. He released albums at a slow, steady pace over the following decades, including classic songs such as “So Long, Marianne “, “Bird on the Wire”, “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”, “Famous Blue Raincoat”, “First We Take Manhattan” and many more.
However, he did not release “Hallelujah”, his most famous song, until 1984. The song, like many of his compositions, only became a hit when it was covered by others, including by Jeff Buckley and later John Cale. , whose version was an unusual addition to the animated feature “Shrek.” Cohen took occasional breaks, but played multi-hour gigs until 2013 and released two albums in the last years of his life.
Merck Mercuriadis, Founder and CEO of Hipgnosis Song Management, said, “Being stewards and stewards of Leonard Cohen’s incomparable songs now is a wonderful but very serious responsibility that we approach with enthusiasm and fully understand the importance of. Leonard wrote words and songs that changed our lives, none more obvious than “Hallelujah”, but there are so many more that we can’t wait to remind the world of on a daily basis. He is revered around the world for the breadth of his work and we are delighted that the Cohen family and Robert Kory have chosen Hipgnosis in this most important decision of who to entrust Leonard’s legacy to.
Kory said, “Merck Mercuriadis is unique in the world of music publishing with its experience as an artist manager. We know he cares about artists and, as a Quebecer, he particularly appreciates Leonard’s unique status in popular music. The catalog is in good hands. The Hipgnosis team was a pleasure to work with throughout the transaction.