Mick Fleetwood sells his share of Fleetwood Mac's recordings

It includes over 300 songs

Mick Fleetwood
Author: Scott ColothanPublished 14th Jan 2021
Last updated 14th Jan 2021

Eponymous Fleetwood Mac co-founder Mick Fleetwood has sold outright his share of the band’s recordings to BMG.

The deal for an unspecified amount gives the Berlin-based international music company full control of Mick Fleetwood’s royalty interest in over 300 songs.

Among the recordings are the blockbuster anthems ‘Dreams’, ‘The Chain’, ‘Go Your Own Way’, and ‘Landslide’, plus albums including 'Fleetwood Mac' (1975), 'Rumours' (1977) and 'Tango In The Night' (1987).

It includes Fleetwood’s interest in all of their recorded work apart from except from their first two albums: 1968’s ‘Fleetwood Mac’ and ‘Mr. Wonderful’.

BMG will also profit from last year’s global viral success of ‘Dreams’ on TikTok, which generated 82 million streams, 126 thousand downloads and 2.8 billion TikTok views.

TikTok user Nathan Apodaca - aka @420doggface208 – posted a video in September 2020 that saw him skateboard around the streets of his native Idaho while sipping cranberry juice and singing along to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 ‘Rumours’ anthem ‘Dreams’. Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham later all shared parody videos to TikTok.

BMG’s acquisition also includes the theatrical, record and mediabook release of Mick Fleetwood & Friends; the February 2020 tribute event to legendary guitarist and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green, who sadly died last summer.

Mick Fleetwood Mac comments: “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 CEO 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.”

Mick Fleetwood’s manager Carl Stubner, who helped broker the deal, added: “For over 50 years Mick’s works continue to be introduced to legions of new fans while BMG continues to ensure its artists are paid their fair share. In an industry, not always known to look after its iconic artists, BMG continues to maximize their income streams.”

Of course, Mick Fleetwood isn’t the first Fleetwood Mac star to sell rights to their back catalogue in recent weeks.

Last week, ex-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham sold 100% of his music publishing rights to 161 songs to intellectual property rights investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund.

In December 2020, Stevie Nicks sold 80% of her song catalogue to music publishing company Primary Wave for a reported $100million.

A brief history of Fleetwood Mac:

1967: Fleetwood Mac beginnings and self-titled debut album

Peter Green played in blues band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers with John McVie, and having played with Mick Fleetwood previously, invited the drummer to join. Peter and Mick formed a new group, and tried to coax John over too – suggesting that they even name the band Fleetwood Mac after him; a name they'd previously given to an instrumental track.

Although John was initially hesitant, he joined the band a few weeks after their first performance in August 1967. Their self-titled debut album was released in February 1968, containing 'Long Grey Mare' and a cover of 'Shake Your Moneymaker'. It peaked at Number 4 in the UK.

1968: Christine Perfect and Danny Kirwan join the group

Vocalist and keyboard player Christine McVie began playing in the group later in 1968 and featured on the band's second album, 'Mr. Wonderful', which had songs like 'Stop Messin' Round' and 'Need Your Love Tonight'. Guitarist Danny Kirwan was added to the line-up shortly after the album's release, and 'Albatross' came out shortly after – their first Number 1 single in Europe and only Number 1 in the UK – with Peter attributing its success to Danny.

They also began to diversify their sound from blues to more of a rock'n'roll feel, releasing 'Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite' in 1969. The Beatles even tried to sign them to Apple Records.

1969: Third studio album 'Then Play On'

This was Fleetwood Mac's first rock album, featuring songs like 'Rattlesnake Shake'. Sadly, in 1970 Peter's mental health began to decline, and he left the band in May 1970 after they finished their European tour. Christine joined the band as a full-time member after releasing a solo album, and by this point was married to John McVie.

Jeremy Spencer disappeared in February 1971, and turned up in a religious group, so Peter Green was re-drafted to perform the final dates on their tour, and the band quickly turned their attentions to hiring a full-time guitarist. Bob Welch was recommended by a friend of the band, and he was hired after sending over a tape.

1971: Fifth album 'Future Games'

The band's sound changed again with 'Future Games', featuring songs like 'Woman of 1000 Years' and 'Sands of Time' – although it wasn't a huge hitter in the UK, it was big in the US and helped the band break into the American market. Sixth album 'Bare Trees' was released just six months later in March 1972, but unfortunately Danny had developed an alcohol dependency – and after refusing to perform in August 1972, Mick fired him from the band.

Guitarist Bob Weston joined Fleetwood Mac, as did vocalist Dave Walker, and they released seventh album 'Penguin' in January 1973. Dave did not last long in the group, and was fired shortly after the record's release as the rest of the band felt he wasn't a good fit.

1973: Temporary disbandment and reunion

During their 1973 US tour, Bob Weston had an affair with Mick's wife, Jenny Boyd, and was fired. With 26 concerts still to go, the tour was cancelled and the band told their sound engineer in October 1973 after a gig in Nebraska that Fleetwood Mac was over. However, manager Clifford Davis felt compelled to continue the tour to keep up his reputation, and recruited new members to play the remaining dates under the name 'The New Fleetwood Mac'.

The tour fell apart when the audiences realised this was not the genuine article, and the remaining dates were cancelled. The original band reunited and signed a new recording contract in September 1974, becoming the first major rock band to manage themselves.

1975: Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham join

Bob Welch quit the band in December 1974, leading Mick to hunt for yet another guitarist. Whilst checking out a recording studio in LA, he heard a song by Buckingham Nicks - Lindsey and Stevie's short-lived duo – and was introduced to the guitarist.

Lindsey agreed to join the band as long as his girlfriend, Stevie, could too, and the new line-up released a second self-titled album in 1975, scoring a Number 1 hit in the US and including songs like 'Say You Love Me', 'Rhiannon' and 'Landslide'. 1976 was a tough year for the band, with John and Christine splitting up as well as Stevie and Lindsey, while Mick was also in the middle of divorcing his wife.

1977: 'Rumours'

Arguably the band's most well-known album, 'Rumours' was released after this tumultuous period, containing huge and enduring hits like 'Go Your Own Way', 'Dreams', 'Songbird' and 'The Chain' - which was the only track that all five members wrote together. Mick has since called it "the most important album we ever made," and they took home the highly-coveted Album of the Year Grammy Award in 1977.

They were honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979, and released their 12th album 'Tusk' in October that year – determined to ensure it sounded nothing like 'Rumours', it had more of an experimental sound, something Mick has since credited to Lindsey.

1981: Solo albums and 'Mirage'

Stevie, Mick and Lindsey each released solo albums in 1981 – 'Bella Donna', 'The Visitor' and 'Law and Order' respectively – but the band released their 13th album 'Mirage' in 1982, going back to more of a 'Rumours' sound that the edgy 'Tusk'. Following a short tour to promote the album, Fleetwood Mac went on a hiatus, so that the members could focus on their solo careers.

After a period of upheaval for the band, they reunited for their 14th album, 'Tango in the Night', released in 1987. It spawned Fleetwood Mac fan-favourites 'Everywhere' and 'Little Lies', but when a 10-week tour was scheduled, Lindsey backed out at the last minute, with a group meeting in August 1987 resulting in chaos, and Lindsey left the band the day after. Billy Burnette and Rick Vito were added to the band and the new line-up embarked on a tour throughout 1987-88.

1990: 'Behind the Mask'

The band's 15th album 'Behind the Mask' saw a departure from the sound that Lindsey had developed during his time in the group. The record did not perform as well as previous albums, but the band reconciled with Lindsey and he joined them for the final performance of their 'Behind the Mask' tour. Stevie and Christine announced that they would be retiring from touring with the band, and Stevie and Rick Vito left the band entirely in 1991.

A 4-disc box set was released in 1992 to mark the band's 25th anniversary: '25 Years – The Chain', which included 'Silver Springs', a song Stevie had written around the time of 'Rumours'. In 1993, Bill Clinton requested that the 'Rumours' line-up perform at his first Inaugaral Ball, as 'Don't Stop' had been his campaign song. After the performance, Mick, John and Christine recorded another album as Fleetwood Mac, joined by Billy Burnette. They released 16th album 'Time' in 1995, and Christine left the band shortly after.

1996: The members work together on different projects

A few weeks after disbanding, Mick and Lindsey began working together again, adding John and Christine McVie later. Stevie also worked with Lindsey on 'Twisted' a soundtrack song for the 1996 film Twister on which Mick played drums, which led to a reunion of the 'Rumours' line-up and the band officially reformed in March 1997.

They performed live in May, recording and releasing it as live album 'The Dance', which scored Fleetwood Mac their first US Number 1 in 10 years. They spent most of 1997 touring, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of 'Rumours', and in 1998 Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as receiving the Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the BRIT Awards. Christine McVie left once more in 1998.

2003: 'Say You Will' and world arena tour

The band's 17th album 'Say You Will' was released in April 2003, and they toured it throughout 2004. There was talk of an original line-up reunion featuring Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, but the band stalled somewhat until 2009, when Fleetwood Mac embarked on their 'Unleashed' tour, but without Christine.

Documentary 'Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop' aired in the UK in November 2009, consisting of interviews with the four current members, and they were the subject of a Glee episode in 2011 which sparked interest in the group from a younger audience.

2013: New tour and new music

A 34-date tour took place in 2013, with the band performing two new songs: 'Sad Angel' and 'Without You', and even recorded a new EP entitled 'Extended Play', released in April 2013. Christine joined the band for two nights at their London dates on the 'Fleetwood Mac Live' tour, but the remaining dates were cancelled in October after John McVie was diagnosed with cancer.

Stevie Nicks appeared in American Horror Story: Coven in October 2013 as 'Seven Wonders' played in the episode, and in January 2014, Christine officially rejoined the band. They performed 33 dates in America in September 2014, calling it 'On with the Show', and in January 2015 Lindsey alluded to the band's new album being their last.

2017: 'Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie'

In August 2016, Mick said that Christine and Lindsey had written enough material to release a duet album, although he hoped it could be more. Stevie added that she was reluctant to make another Fleetwood album, and so 'Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie' was released in June 2017, with contributions from Mick and John. The pair toured the album, and Fleetwood Mac drew up plans for another tour in 2018.

However, in April 2018, Lindsey was let go from the band after disagreements over the tour, with Mick explaining in an interview that they had "hit a brick wall". Lindsey filed a lawsuit against the band in October that year, and it was settled out of court. Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn from Crowded House replaced Lindsey, and they embarked on the 'An Evening with Fleetwood Mac' tour together in October 2018.

2020: Lindsey is gone for good

In January 2020, Mick announced in an interview that Lindsey would never reunite with the band, telling Rolling Stone, "It's a full drama of Fleetwood Mac, no doubt. His legacy is alive and well, and as it should be. A major part that will never be taken away, and never be down-spoken by any of us. Neil and Mike have tremendous respect for Lindsey. The situation was no secret. We were not happy. It was not working, and we parted company. And that really is the all of it." Founding member Peter Green sadly passed away in July 2020.

2021: Lindsey sells his entire 161-song publishing catalogue

In January 2021, it was announced that Lindsey had sold his music publishing catalogue to intellectual property rights investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund. After they acquired a 25% share of Buckingham's catalogue in September 2020, the company now owns 100% of Buckingham's music publishing rights, including the publishing and writer's share of his entire catalogue of 161 songs - as well as a 50% stake in any future compositions. This comes after Stevie Nicks sold 80% of her song catalogue to music publishing company Primary Wave for a reported $100 million in December 2020.

Listen to Absolute Radio on DAB nationwide, on our free app, by hitting that play button on the bottom of your screen, via your smart speaker (“Play Absolute Radio”) and on Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media TV.

Absolute Radio

No Repeat Guarantee