Hipgnosis Song Management has acquired the song catalog 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 a conscript on both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Hipgnosis has acquired rights to all 278 songs and derivatives written by Leonard Cohen, including the Hallelujah song that has been covered more than 300 times. Within these rights are 127 songs from Cohen’s Stranger Music catalog, in which Hipgnosis received the songwriter’s share of the copyright. It covers the period from the start of his career until 2000 and includes all derivative works, making a total of 211 songs. The company also acquired 100% ownership of the copyright, publisher’s and songwriter’s stake in the Old Ideas catalog, which consists of all 67 songs as well as derivative works written by Cohen from 2001 until his death in 2016.
No other terms of the deal were disclosed.
Acquired on behalf of hypnosis songs Capital ICAV, a partnership between Hipgnosis Song Management and Blackstone LLP.
Cohen’s estate is represented by longtime principals Leonard Cohen, Robert Currie, 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 fifteenth and final album, “Thank You for the Dance” posthumously in 2019. He began his career as a poet and novelist but moved to New York in the mid-1960s to try his luck as a singer-songwriter. His work first attracted attention when Judy Collins began covering his classic “Susan,” which was a hit in 1967. John Hammond, who also signed or worked closely with Bob Dylan, Aretha Frankley, Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, signed him in Columbia Records in 1967. He released albums at a slow and 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,” and Raincoat Famous Blue”, “First we take Manhattan” and many others.
However, he did not release “Hallelujah”, his most famous song, until 1984. The song, like many of his compositions, did not achieve success until it was covered by others, most famously Jeff Buckley, and later John Cale. , whose version was an unusual addition to the feature-length animated film “Shrek”. Cohen took occasional hiatus from performing but held parties that lasted for hours until 2013, releasing two albums in the last years of his life.
Merck Mercuriadis, Founder and CEO of Hipgnosis Song Management, said, “Being the custodians and directors of Leonard Cohen’s incomparable songs is a wonderful but very dangerous responsibility that we take with enthusiasm and fully understand the importance of it. Leonard wrote lyrics and songs that changed our lives, and it has never been more meaningful than” Hallelujah, but there is so much we look forward to reminding the world daily. He is respected around the world for the enormity of his work, and we are delighted that the Cohen family and Robert Cory have chosen Hypnosis in this most important decision as to who will entrust Leonard’s legacy.”
Cory said, “Merck Mercuriadis is unique in the music publishing world with his background as an artist director. We know he cares about artists, and as a Quibcoe, he especially appreciates Leonard’s unique stature in popular music. The catalog is in good hands. The Hipgnosis team has been a pleasure to work with throughout the transaction.”