Courtesy of Def Jam
As expected, Justin Bieber has sold his music rights to Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital for about $200 million, the company said. News of the impending deal, which had been rumored for weeks, was widely reported last month.
The deal includes Bieber’s interests in his publishing and recorded music catalog, Bieber’s interest in his publishing royalties (including the writer’s share of the performance), master recordings and related rights to his entire back catalog, which includes over 290 titles released prior to 31 December 2021, sources say Diversity that Bieber’s songs will continue to be managed by Universal Music, the singer’s longtime home. His master recordings will continue to be owned by UMG in perpetuity.
The acquisition was made on behalf of Hipgnosis Songs Capital, a partnership between Hipgnosis Song Management and funds managed by Blackstone. Bieber was represented by Scooter Braun at Hybe America, David Bolno at NKSFB, Aaron Rosenberg and Audrey Benualid at Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP and Michael Rhodes at Cooley.
Brown, CEO of Hybe America and Bieber’s manager for 15 years, said: “I want to thank Merck and its entire team at Hipgnosis and all of our partners involved in working so hard to make this historic deal happen. When Justin made the decision to do a catalog deal, we quickly found the best partner to preserve and develop this incredible legacy was Merck and Hipgnosis. For 15 years I have been grateful to witness this journey and today I am happy for all involved. Justin’s greatness is just beginning.”
Merck Mercuriadis, founder and CEO of Hipgnosis Song Management, said: “Justin Bieber’s impact on global culture over the past 14 years has been truly remarkable. This acquisition ranks among the biggest deals ever for an artist under the age of 70, such is the strength of this incredible catalog that has almost 82 million monthly listeners and over 30 billion streams on Spotify alone. Scooter Braun has helped him build a magnificent catalog and it’s a pleasure to welcome Justin and his incredible songs and records to the Hipgnosis family.”
Hipgnosis Songs Capital was represented by William Leibowitz at William R. Leibowitz Law Group, Seth Traxler and Rory Wellever at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Robert Fowler & Lisa Ong at HW Fisher.
The news comes at a quiet time for the singer, just weeks after he postponed the remaining dates of his ‘Justice’ tour to an unspecified time ‘next year’. The tour, which was originally scheduled to begin in 2020, has been delayed or postponed several times, initially due to the pandemic, but more recently after his bout with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare virus that in his case caused facial paralysis. It finally kicked off in March and covered most of North America, but he postponed the rest of the dates in early June after announcing his struggles with the illness.
It also comes amid a general cooling in the formerly red-hot catalog market, which has become less attractive as asking prices have jumped and interest rates and capital gains taxes have risen.
Bieber’s catalog, while containing shares of his many hits over the past 15 years, is also less proven than more seasoned catalogs such as Genesis and Phil Collins, whose catalogs sold for $300 million earlier this year.
However, some companies, notably Hipgnosis, have embraced newer catalogs. According to the Journal, the Bieber deal will be Hipgnosis’ largest music rights acquisition to date. Earlier this year, the company acquired the rights to Justin Timberlake’s catalog of songs, whose work predates Bieber’s by several years, in a deal reported to be worth just over $100 million. Although Bieber’s share of hits like “Sorry,” “Love Yourself” and even older songs like “Baby” are considered relatively small, they are still massive global hits that define an era for many. Conversely, Hipgnosis also acquired the catalog of legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, which includes many classics that are over 50 years old.
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