TORONTO — Robbie Robertson is unburdening himself with the sale of music rights to his six-decade career.
The 78-year-old Toronto-born artist has reached an agreement with Iconoclast, a new Los Angeles investment firm, for ownership of his registered interests and music publishing rights spanning his career to date.
Robertson’s career spans an array of defining rock songs, including his early work with the Hawks, the influential hits “Up on Cripple Creek”, “The Shape I’m In”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, as well as the work on the scores of many films by Martin Scorsese.
Financial details were not disclosed for the deal, which also covers Robertson’s name, image and likeness rights.
The transaction is the latest in what has become a whirlwind of music rights acquisitions.
It started early in the pandemic as older artists sought an exit plan from their assets and younger musicians sought financial stability as touring became an unreliable source of income.
Iconoclast is a relative newcomer to the scene led by Olivier Chastan, who previously oversaw the purchase of music catalogs for David Crosby and Linda Ronstadt from Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group.
Other players have also positioned themselves as leaders in the growing market.
Hipgnosis Songs Fund, operated by Merck Mercuriadis native Middleton, Nova Scotia, secured a number of significant deals last year, one of the biggest being a 50% stake in 1,180 songs by Neil Young.
In Canada, Kilometer Music Group entered the market with a focus on local artists. The company has secured 50 percent of songs from the Ottawa rapper Belly’s catalog, including his co-writing work on many The Weeknd hits.
Robertson’s deal positions Iconoclast as another aggressive entrant in the search for marquee names.
Within it, the company gets a smaller piece of the band’s biggest hit “The Weight,” since the underlying publishing rights to that song and the 1968 album it appears on belonged to Bob Dylan, who sold it to Universal in another deal. in 2020.
Robertson joined Iconoclast’s board of directors as a creative advisor.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 4, 2022.
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