Paul Simon has become the latest music star to cash in on their songbook, selling his catalogue to Sony for an undisclosed sum.
Announcing the deal, Simon said: “I’m pleased to have Sony Music Publishing be the custodian of my songs for the coming decades. I began my career at Columbia/Sony Records and it feels like a natural extension to be working with the Publishing side as well.” Jon Platt, Sony Music Publishing’s chief executive, said it was an “incredible honour”.
Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks have made similar deals over the last year, earning nine-figure cash sums (a reported $300m in Dylan’s case) in exchange for the rights to their songs.
Publishing companies, whether as arms of corporations such as Sony and Universal or independent outfits like Hipgnosis and Primary Wave, earn royalties from the songs being performed, including through “syncs” on the soundtracks to film, TV and advertising.
The deal means Sony will take on the earning power of enduring Simon classics including Bridge Over Troubled Water, Graceland and Mrs Robinson (though not the royalties of his longtime partner Art Garfunkel).
Simon, 79, has retired from touring, rounding out his career with Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour in 2018. He has not ruled out one-off concerts, though, and returned to the stage at the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco in 2019. His most recent album is 2018’s In the Blue Light.