Hipgnosis Song Management Acquires 278-Track Catalog of ‘Hallelujah’ Songwriter Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen performing live in 2009. Photo Credit: Stefan Karpiniec

Hipgnosis Song Management has officially purchased the catalog of “Hallelujah” songwriter Leonard Cohen.

Blackstone-powered Hipgnosis Song Management announced its deal with the estate of “Suzanne” singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen in a formal release that was emailed to Digital Music News. The investment encompasses “rights in all 278 songs and derivatives written by” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Cohen, who passed away at the age of 82 in 2016.

The 278-song figure reflects songwriter royalties on 127 tracks and another 84 derivative works from the start of Cohen’s career through 2000, for a total of 211 songs. The Westmount, Quebec, native arrived on the music scene with 1967’s Songs of Leonard Cohen after penning multiple poetry collections and novels throughout the 50s and 60s.

In total, the Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee released nine albums during the 20th century, including 1984’s Various Positions, which features “Hallelujah.” (Renditions of the well-known track have racked up a staggering five billion cumulative streams across all platforms, execs indicated.) And Hipgnosis purchased the entirety of the copyrights (“‘publisher’s share’ and ‘songwriter’s share’”) associated with the transaction’s remaining 67 songs and derivatives, released between 2001 and 2016, higher-ups said.

Addressing the two-time Grammy winner’s catalog sale in a statement, longtime Leonard Cohen manager (and Leonard Cohen Family Trust trustee) Robert Kory said: “Merck Mercuriadis is unique in the music publishing world with his background as an artist manager.

“We know he cares about artists, and as a Québécois he has a particularly deep appreciation of Leonard’s unique status in popular music. The catalogue is in good hands. The Hipgnosis team has been a pleasure to work with throughout the transaction.”

And in a statement of his own, Hipgnosis Song Management founder and CEO Merck Mercuriadis said in part: “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. 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.”

The Leonard Cohen catalog deal comes roughly six weeks after Hipgnosis Song Management’s purchase of Kenny Chesney’s recordings, though the period has seen a multitude of other companies drop substantial sums on music IP.

To be sure, the catalog sales rush in recent weeks has extended to song rights from Bob Dylan (his recordings, that is, following a 2020 pact with Universal Music Publishing Group), Travis Tritt, Luis Fonsi, Murda Beatz and Bryson Tiller, Jason Aldean, Def Leppard, Alice in Chains, Sting, Run-DMC producer Larry Smith, Neil Diamond, and all manner of contemporary creators, among others.