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Rod Stewart Sells Catalog and Other Rights to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group

Mr. Nimbus | 02/15/2024

Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Rod Stewart has sold his genre-bending song catalog of hits, deep cuts and more to Irving Azoff‘s Iconic Artists Group. Styled as a “wide-ranging cross-media” partnership, the deal with IAG includes the raspy singer-songwriter’s rights to his sound recordings and his interest in his publishing, as well as certain name, image and likeness rights, Billboard has confirmed.


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The company, which Azoff co-founded in January 2020, declined to offer financial particulars of its deal with Stewart, who joins an elite roster of IAG acts that includes The Beach Boys, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Dan Fogelberg, Nat “King” Cole, Dean Martin and CSN bandmates David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

Concurrently, Iconic announced on Thursday (Feb. 15) that it has raised $1 billion as part of an investment from HPS Investment Partners — which it said will enable them to acquire and manage even more legendary assets.

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IAG’s arrangement with Stewart encompasses his entire career, beginning with his standout vocal contributions on Jeff Beck’s first two albums — Truth and Beck-Ola — and then the rollicking-and-randy output of the legendary Faces, his band with fellow Jeff Beck Group alum Ronnie Wood. That combo, filled out by Kenney Jones and the late-greats Ian McLagan and Ronnie Lane, produced several early 1970s gems co-written by Stewart, including “Miss Judy’s Farm” “Bad ‘n’ Ruin” and their only proper hit in the U.S., “Stay With Me” (No. 17, Hot 100).

Stewart’s solo career began in earnest during a brief window between his time in the JBG and Faces, but he truly broke through with album No. 3, 1971’s Every Picture Tells a Story, which topped the Billboard 200 and produced breakthrough hits “Maggie May” (co-written with Martin Quittenton) and a cover of “(Find a) Reason to Believe.” Throughout the decade he bagged an album’s worth of greatest hits, including “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright),” which spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100, as well as “You Wear It Well,” “Hot Legs,” “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)” and his foray into disco, “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Plus, it was during the 70s that he established himself as an able interpreter of other people’s songs, like “The First Cut Is the Deepest” (Cat Stevens) and “Twistin’ the Night Away” (Sam Cooke ).

The 1980s saw Stewart turn to more soft rock stylings and he scored a string of top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Passion,” “Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me)” “Infatuation,” “Forever Young” and one of his biggest tracks of the decade, a cover of Tom Waits’ “Downtown Train.” The next decade produced adult contemporary hits like “Rhythm of My Heart,” off his top-10 album Vagabond Heart, and the juggernaut that was his multi-platinum Unplugged…and Seated, which capped at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and included his wedding reception-ready version of Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately.” For much of the 2000s, Stewart has released a series of highly popular Great American Songbook albums and other genre-specific collections, including ones for rock and soul. Later this month, he’ll release his 32nd studio album, Swing Fever, a salute to the big band era. The rest of the year will find him on the road and wrapping up his Las Vegas residency.

The partnership with IAG arrives less than a year after Stewart backed out of a potential catalog sale to Hipgnosis following lengthy negotiations. He said at the time that “this catalog represents my life’s work. And it’s become abundantly clear after much time and due diligence that this was not the right company to manage my song catalog, career or legacy.” (Hipgnosis went on to have a bumpy 2023 that has spilled over into this year.)

Yet now Stewart has reason to believe the “time is right” and that “I feel fortunate to have found partners in Irving and his team at Iconic that I can entrust with my life’s work and future musical legacy.”

Azoff added, “We are thrilled to welcome one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of our time, Rod Stewart, to the Iconic family. Our new partnership with HPS provides us with the resources and flexibility to make blockbuster signings like this one and to continue the success of our legendary artists and their legacies.”

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Written by Mr. Nimbus

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