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Shakira, Justin Timberlake among biggest artists to sell catalogs

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The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to a number of trends across the entertainment industry. We saw live performances from home, big budget Hollywood blockbusters hitting streaming services at the same time as theaters, and it seems like everyone has a podcast. But one that may have the biggest lasting effect: Prolific musicians selling the rights to their back catalogs for tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Here are some of the top sales in this week’s Five For Friday.

#5: Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake will have plenty of cash to buy a new “Suit and Tie” after selling his entire songwriting catalog to Hipgnosis Song Management for a reported $100 million. Founded in 2018 by Merck Mercuriadis and Chic co-founder Nile Rogers, Hipgnosis has spent over $2 billion on the song rights of some major superstars. While a number of artists have taken issue with compensation from streaming giants like Spotify, the fund is convinced this is a lucrative investment for the future. As for why J.T. might have decided to sell so early in his career, it’s speculated that the uncertainty in the market is pushing artists to cash in. The deal includes roughly 200 of Timberlake’s songs like “SexyBack,” “Rock Your Body,” and “Cry Me A River.” It looks like money won’t be causing any more tears.

#4: Bob Dylan

The Times They Are A-Changin’” for Bob Dylan after selling his 600-song catalog to Universal Publishing Group for a rumored $300-400 million. The move marks a big win for traditional record companies, as Hipgnosis had been in talks with Dylan before he eventually decided to go with UPG. Dylan has not spoken publicly about his decision to sell the rights to songs like “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Hurricane,” but some say the 81-year-old’s move was likely made for estate planning purposes.

#3: Shakira

Colombian singer Shakira would have to be “Loca” to not entertain an offer from Hipgnosis to sell her catalog. The sale in January 2021 came on the heels of COVID-19-related lockdowns, which caused concerts to grind to a halt and cut into a major source of revenue for touring artists. Shakira has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, featuring hits like “Whenever, Wherever,” “Underneath Your Clothes,” and “She Wolf.” As is the case with many of these deals, just how much she received has not been disclosed. So, while her “Hips Don’t Lie,” her lips are sealed. But it’s safe to bet she made a pretty penny.

#2: Mark Ronson

It’s not just headliners getting in on the music rights action. Super-producer Mark Ronson also made an undisclosed deal with Hipgnosis. His name appears on bangers like “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars, but he is also behind hits from the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus. Yes, we don’t know the number, but one can bet there were many “Million Reasons” to sell, especially considering he has dozens of No. 1 songs — two of which have been streamed more than a billion times.

#1: Bruce Springsteen

If anyone was worried that the labels are losing out to Hipgnosis and Primary Wave, among others, Bruce Springsteen gave a win to the old guard labels in the biggest catalog sale for a single artist. Sony Music Group shelled out an estimated $550 million for the Boss’ library. He may be “Blinded By The Light,” if that light is bling. Right before buying the rights to songs like “Glory Days,” “Hungry Heart,” and “Born to Run,” Sony was already on a big spending spree to snag song rights from a number of other artists.

Simone Del Rosario: Wouldn’t it rock to get a huge payout for work you did decades ago? That’s life in the music biz – where there’s a rising trend of some of the biggest artists in history selling their catalogs for 9 figures! Let’s take a look at some of the latest megastar mega-deals in this week’s five for friday. 

 

At number 5, Justin Timberlake will have plenty of dough to buy a new “Suit and Tie” after selling his entire songwriting catalog to Hipgnosis Song Management for a reported $100 million. Founded back in 2018, Hipgnosis has already spent well over 2 billion on catalogs like this – betting big they won’t be “Crying a River” over the streaming revenue.

Bob Dylan is number 4 on our list. “The Times They Are A-Changin’” for Dylan after selling his 600-song catalog to Universal Publishing Group for a rumored $300-400 million. Here’s one hipgnosis missed out on – proving major labels can still compete with private equity. Dylan hasn’t commented on the sale, but some speculate the 81 year old’s decision was made for estate planning purposes. 

Shakira would have to be “Loca” to not entertain a mega offer from Hipgnosis to sell her catalog. Her January 2021 sale came on the heels of covid lockdowns when tours were shut down – cutting a much needed source of revenue. Just how much did she get?  Welp, her “Hips Don’t Lie,” but her lips are sealed. Having sold more than 80 million records worldwide you can bet it fetched a pretty penny. 

And, it’s not just headliners on our list. super-producer Mark Eonson’s undisclosed deal clocks in at number two. sure his name appears on songs like “Uptown Funk ” with Bruno Mars, but he’s also behind hits for the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus. It’s no wonder Hipgnosis gave him many “Million Reasons” to sell, when Ronson has dozens of number-1 hits and 2 songs that have been streamed over 1 billion times. 

The old guard labels got another win with our number 1 – which happens to be the biggest ever catalog sale for a single artist. Sony Music Group bought Bruce Springsteen’s for an estimated $550 million. The boss may be “Blinded by the Light,” if that light is the bling of more than half a billion dollars. It capped off a major spending spree by Sony last year.

Feel spared. I had several more song puns in store. but i was “Born to Run, and you can watch this “Whenever, Wherever.” “Bye Bye Bye.” Yeah OK that one wasn’t even part of JT’s deal. That’s your five for friday. I’m Simone Del Rosario for Just Business. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to a number of trends across the entertainment industry. We saw live performances from home, big budget Hollywood blockbusters hitting streaming services at the same time as theaters, and it seems like everyone has a podcast. But one that may have the biggest lasting effect: Prolific musicians selling the rights to their back catalogs for tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Here are some of the top sales in this week’s Five For Friday.

#5: Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake will have plenty of cash to buy a new “Suit and Tie” after selling his entire songwriting catalog to Hipgnosis Song Management for a reported $100 million. Founded in 2018 by Merck Mercuriadis and Chic co-founder Nile Rogers, Hipgnosis has spent over $2 billion on the song rights of some major superstars. While a number of artists have taken issue with compensation from streaming giants like Spotify, the fund is convinced this is a lucrative investment for the future. As for why J.T. might have decided to sell so early in his career, it’s speculated that the uncertainty in the market is pushing artists to cash in. The deal includes roughly 200 of Timberlake’s songs like “SexyBack,” “Rock Your Body,” and “Cry Me A River.” It looks like money won’t be causing any more tears.

#4: Bob Dylan

The Times They Are A-Changin’” for Bob Dylan after selling his 600-song catalog to Universal Publishing Group for a rumored $300-400 million. The move marks a big win for traditional record companies, as Hipgnosis had been in talks with Dylan before he eventually decided to go with UPG. Dylan has not spoken publicly about his decision to sell the rights to songs like “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Hurricane,” but some say the 81-year-old’s move was likely made for estate planning purposes.

#3: Shakira

Colombian singer Shakira would have to be “Loca” to not entertain an offer from Hipgnosis to sell her catalog. The sale in January 2021 came on the heels of COVID-19-related lockdowns, which caused concerts to grind to a halt and cut into a major source of revenue for touring artists. Shakira has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, featuring hits like “Whenever, Wherever,” “Underneath Your Clothes,” and “She Wolf.” As is the case with many of these deals, just how much she received has not been disclosed. So, while her “Hips Don’t Lie,” her lips are sealed. But it’s safe to bet she made a pretty penny.

#2: Mark Ronson

It’s not just headliners getting in on the music rights action. Super-producer Mark Ronson also made an undisclosed deal with Hipgnosis. His name appears on bangers like “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars, but he is also behind hits from the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus. Yes, we don’t know the number, but one can bet there were many “Million Reasons” to sell, especially considering he has dozens of No. 1 songs — two of which have been streamed more than a billion times.

#1: Bruce Springsteen

If anyone was worried that the labels are losing out to Hipgnosis and Primary Wave, among others, Bruce Springsteen gave a win to the old guard labels in the biggest catalog sale for a single artist. Sony Music Group shelled out an estimated $550 million for the Boss’ library. He may be “Blinded By The Light,” if that light is bling. Right before buying the rights to songs like “Glory Days,” “Hungry Heart,” and “Born to Run,” Sony was already on a big spending spree to snag song rights from a number of other artists.

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