Pop juggernaut Justin Bieber has sold shares of his music publishing and recording catalog to Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital for $200 million, the company said, in the industry’s latest massive rights deal.
The sale has been rumored for weeks and sees the 28-year-old join a group of artists who have recently cashed in on their catalogs.
Hipgnosis has not publicly disclosed the terms of the deal, but a source close to the matter told AFP news agency it was worth around $200 million.
“Justin Bieber’s influence on global culture over the past 14 years has been truly remarkable,” Merck Mercuriades, president of Hypgnosis, a longtime music industry executive, said in a statement Tuesday.
“At just 28 years old, he’s one of a handful of defining artists of the broadcast era to reinvigorate the entire music industry, taking with him a loyal and global audience on a journey from teen phenomenon to culturally significant artist.”
Hipgnosis Songs Capital is a billion dollar venture between financial giant Blackstone and British company Hipgnosis Song Management. Hipgnosis said they’ve gained Bieber’s copyright interest in his back catalog of 290 songs — all of his music released before December 31, 2021.
Another source close to the deal said Bieber’s house label Universal would continue to manage the catalog, and still own the artist’s master recordings. Hipgnosis took the artist’s share of his masters as well as his adjacent rights—a property that sees its owner receive a payment each time a song is played publicly.
Contemporary stars including Justin Timberlake and Shakira have sold large stakes in their act — both of whom had deals with Hipgnosis — but the move was mostly seen among longtime artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
The dizzying sums—Springsteen’s catalog went to Sony for $500 billion—are safe bets for older artists who get their finances in order and investors who can count on steady returns from time-tested music and streaming potential.
Younger catalogs are seen as riskier territory, but Bieber is among the best-selling artists of all time, and now Hipgnosis has its share of some of the biggest hits of the 21st century, including Baby and Sorry.
After the Canadian native was discovered on YouTube as a teenager, Bieber rose to worldwide fame, selling more than 150 million records.
He has charted eight number one records on the Billboard Top Albums chart, and his songs have been streamed on Spotify alone over 32 billion times.
Bieber’s health has been taking a hit recently, as the singer went on a short, indefinite tour after it was revealed he had Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare complication of shingles that for him caused partial facial paralysis.
Music catalogs have always changed, but the current publishing sales boom has 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, played a large role in announcing the uptick in sales.
The sector has seemed quiet lately, but the Bieber deal shows investors are still hungry for music.
Copyright holders of a song receive a cut in various scenarios, including radio play, airplay, album sales, and use in advertisements and movies. Registration rights govern reproduction and distribution.
The flurry of sales came amid a broader debate over artists’ ownership of the work, swelled in large part by Taylor Swift, who achieved resounding success when she re-recorded her first six albums so she could control their master recording rights.
This move originated from Swift public hostility With Scooter Braun, a music executive whose company owned the original masters and later sold them to investment firm Shamrock Holdings.
“When Justin made the decision to strike a catalog deal, we quickly found that the best partner to preserve and grow this amazing legacy was Merck and Hipgnosis,” Brown, Bieber’s manager for 15 years, said in a statement.
“Justin is truly a once-in-a-generation artist and that reflects and acknowledges how big of a deal this is.”