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Justin Bieber sells music rights for Ksh. 25B

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  • The sale has been rumoured for weeks and sees the 28-year-old join a who’s who of artists who have cashed out recently on their catalogues.

Pop juggernaut Justin
Bieber has sold his music publishing and recording catalogue shares to the
Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital for $200 million (Ksh. 24.9 billion), the company said
Tuesday — marking the industry’s latest blockbuster rights deal.

The sale has been
rumoured for weeks and sees the 28-year-old join a who’s who of artists who
have cashed out recently on their catalogues.

Hipgnosis did not
publicly disclose the terms of the deal, but a source close to the matter told AFP
it was worth around $200 million.

Contemporary stars
including Justin Timberlake and Shakira have sold large stakes in their work –
both also struck deals with Hipgnosis — but the move has mostly been seen
among legacy artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

The staggering sums –
Springsteen’s catalogue went to Sony for a reported half a billion dollars — are
considered safe bets both for older artists getting their finances in order and
investors who can count on consistent returns from time-tested music and the
viability of streaming.

Younger catalogues are
seen as riskier territory, but Bieber is one of the best-selling artists of all
time, and now Hipgnosis has his share in some of the 21st century’s biggest
hits including “Baby” and “Sorry.”

Hipgnosis Songs
Capital is a $1 billion (Ksh. 124.3 billion) venture between financial giant Blackstone and the
British Hipgnosis Song Management.

According to the deal,
Hipgnosis has acquired Bieber’s publishing copyrights to his 290-song back
catalogue — all of his music released prior to December 31, 2021 — including
his writer’s share.

It also includes his
artist rights to his lucrative master recordings as well as neighbouring rights
royalties — a right that sees its owner receive a payment every time a song is
played publicly.

But while Hipgnosis
will receive the revenues, Bieber’s longtime home Universal will continue to
administer the catalogue, Variety reported.

– ‘Remarkable’ –

After the Canadian
native was discovered on YouTube as a teen, Bieber skyrocketed to global fame,
selling more than 150 million records.

He has charted eight
number-one records on Billboard’s top albums list, and his songs have streamed
on Spotify alone more than 32 billion times.

“The impact of
Justin Bieber on global culture over the last 14 years has truly been
remarkable,” said Hipgnosis chief Merck Mercuriadis, a longtime music
industry executive, in a statement.

“At only 28 years
of age, he is one of a handful of defining artists of the streaming era that
has revitalized the entire music industry, taking a loyal and worldwide
audience with him on a journey from a teen phenomenon to a culturally important
artist.”

Bieber’s health has
suffered recently, with the star going on an indefinite touring hiatus after he
revealed he’d been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, a rare complication of
shingles that for him caused partial facial paralysis.

– Lucrative asset
class –

Music catalogues have
always changed hands, but the current publishing sales boom had escalated
rapidly, with financial markets increasingly drawn to lucrative music
portfolios as an asset class.

Mercuriadis’
Hipgnosis, which went public on the London Stock Exchange in 2018, has played a
large part in publicizing the spike in sales.

The sector had seemed
to cool over the past year, but the Bieber deal shows investors are still
hungry for music acquisitions.

Along with Springsteen
and Dylan major deals across the industry include work from Sting, Stevie
Nicks, Paul Simon, Motley Crue, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and from the estates
of David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.

The owners of a song’s
publishing rights receive a cut in a number of scenarios, including radio play
and streaming, album sales, and use in advertising and movies. Recording rights
govern reproduction and distribution.

The flurry of sales
came amid a wider conversation over artists’ ownership of the work, amplified
in large part by Taylor Swift, who has found resounding success as she
re-records her first six albums so she can control their master recording
rights.

That move stemmed
from Swift’s very public feud with Scooter Braun, the music manager whose
company once owned her original masters, and later sold them to the investment
firm Shamrock Holdings.

Braun has been
Bieber’s manager for 15 years, and in a statement said “when Justin made
the decision to make a catalogue deal we quickly found the best partner to
preserve and grow this amazing legacy was Merck and Hipgnosis.”

“Justin is truly
a once-in-a-generation artist and that is reflected and acknowledged by the
magnitude of this deal.”



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