Mick Fleetwood latest musician to sell song rights amid streaming concerns

Mick Fleetwood has sold his back catalogue. Credit: PA

Mick Fleetwood has joined a growing number of musicians to sell off the rights to their back catalogue.

The Fleetwood Mac co-founder and drummer has sold his legal right to the songs to Germany-based BM, one of the world's biggest music publishers.

Royalty interests for more than 300 songs including Fleetwood Mac hits Dreams, The Chain and Go Your Own Way, and covers his interests in all of the band’s recorded work apart from their first two albums are included in the deal.

It is estimated that such deals can see artists can receive 25 years worth of royalties in one go by agreeing to sale their rights in this manner.

One of the reasons stars have taken the decision to part ways with their rights is due to the impact of streaming, making it harder to secure remuneration for their work.

BMG will now collect a fee every time one of those songs is streamed, played on the radio or used in a film or video game.

Recent months have seen a series of high-profile artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young and most recently Shakira sell the rights to their extensive back catalogues in lucrative deals.

Shakira is another to have sold the rights to her songs. Credit: PA

Leading the way has been Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a fund run by Merck Mercuriadis, a former manager of Sir Elton John and Pet Shop Boys.

In recent months, Mr Mercuriadis has acquired the rights of Young, former Fleetwood Mac lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, Blondie singer Debbie Harry and Mark Ronson among others.

He has built up a sizeable catalogue of songs since launching the fund on the London Stock Exchange in 2018 and raising more than £1 billion from shareholders.

Fleetwood, 73, said: “This is a wonderfully inspiring marriage between two creative partners that understand all aspects of the business. Foremost, BMG understands the artistry and puts the artist first.

“If this partnership is any indication of my past, and now future, working relationship with BMG, it’s that they truly ‘get it’.”

BMG chief executive Hartwig Masuch said: “Mick Fleetwood is the bedrock of one of the greatest bands in rock, he has a unique talent to bring together musicians of all genres and of course he is one of rock’s greatest drummers.

“BMG is proud to represent his greatest work and excited about the forthcoming launch of Mick Fleetwood & Friends.”

Fleetwood Mac in 1978. Credit: PA

The sale of Fleetwood’s songs was brokered by his manager Carl Stubner from the Shelter Music Group.

Alongside John McVie, the drummer formed Fleetwood Mac in 1967 with guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer.

They found wider success with their blues-rock third album Then Play On, before disbanding amid infighting and substance abuse.

Fleetwood and McVie resurrected the band in the mid-1970s with a new line-up including Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie, finding international success.

They have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful groups ever.

Buckingham was fired from the band in 2018 and replaced by Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Neil Finn of Crowded House.