Linus Entertainment, home of Gordon Lightfoot, buys indie folk label Borealis Records

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TORONTO — Linus Entertainment, the music company that's home of Fred Penner and Gordon Lightfoot, says it has reached a deal to acquire Borealis Records, one of Canada's prominent independent folk labels.

The Waterdown, Ont.-based record label, distributor and publisher says it finalized the purchase of the Borealis catalogue on Jan. 1.

Representatives would not disclose the value of the deal.

The transaction will give Linus ownership of an extensive catalogue of music from an array of homegrown acts, including Vancouver-formed the Fugitives, as well as late Canadian folk favourites Ron Hynes and Stan Rogers.

Borealis Records was founded in 1996 with the goal of supporting Canada's folk and roots scene, promising to diversify its lineup with names from many regions across the country, and sign "ethical artist agreements" that were "typically more generous than what is the industry standard."

Borealis first partnered with Linus Entertainment years ago for the distribution of its music. Under the purchase, Borealis will join Linus' other famed Canadian labels, such as True North Records, the Children’s Group, and Solid Gold Records.

Over the past year, rights deals have become a hot commodity as companies and artists look to monetize their assets as the pandemic slows the concert industry and listening moves increasingly to streaming options.

Neil Young struck a deal this week to sell a 50 per cent stake in his music to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a British investment company.

Other legendary artists have signed multi-million dollar agreements for the publishing rights to their music, including Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press