Hipgnosis Songs Capital has reached its agreement to purchase 100% of Justin Bieber’s publishing, as well as his artist royalties on his master recordings and neighboring rights, Hipgnosis has confirmed. The price of the deal was just north of $200 million, according to a source familiar with the matter, making it the biggest rights sale for an artist of Bieber’s generation. It’s also Hipgnosis’ biggest acquisition to date, spanning all 290 tracks in Bieber’s catalog released by December 31, 2021, including his most recent album, Justice (2021).
Billboard originally reported in December that a Bieber deal worth more than $200 million was in the works amid the founder/CEO Merck Mercuriadis‘ efforts to “close about $500 million in deals” between mid-November and mid-December. Although Mercuriadis did not specify what the transactions were at the time, the Bieber acquisition appears to be part of that disclosure.
After a hot 2021 for catalog sales, with deals with icons like Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon making headlines and some of the world’s biggest private equity players, including Blackstone, KKR and Apollo Global Management, taking all market stakes, rising interest rates and changes in currency trading have chilled the industry in 2022. Still, deals have been struck. Last year Justin Timberlake, Leonard Cohen, Nile Rodgers, Kenny Chesney, Neil Young and Nelly Furtado all sold some of their rights to Hipgnosis. Sting, the estate of David Bowie, Phil Collins and bandmates Genesis, Future, the estate of Frank Zappa and Neil Diamond also sold some assets to investors in 2022.
Typically, newer catalogs like Bieber’s are considered riskier investments because they don’t have as much history behind them to prove their staying power. This means they often sell for lower multiples than classic acts. Bieber’s success, however, has been undeniable since his 2009 debut album, My worldand the 2010 follow-up, My world 2.0, the latter topped the Billboard 200 and included the hit single “Baby”. In all, Bieber has scored eight No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, including his last full studio release, 2021. Justice.
On the Billboard Hot 100, Bieber has garnered 26 top 10s, including eight No. 1s. His albums have generated 28 million equivalent album units in the United States, including 13.2 million in traditional album sales, according to Luminate. His collected songs that are mostly billed to him have generated 16.6 billion official on-demand streams in the United States.
Although Bieber’s share of artist royalties for his masters will now be funneled to Hipgnosis, UMG will continue to own the recorded music copyright to his works in perpetuity.
“Justin Bieber’s impact on global culture over the past 14 years has been truly remarkable,” said Mercuriadis in a press release. “At just 28 years old, he is one of a handful of defining artists in the streaming era that revitalized the entire music industry, taking a loyal, global audience with him on a journey of phenomenon. teenager to culturally significant artist. This acquisition ranks among the biggest deals ever for an artist under the age of 70, such is the power of this incredible catalog which has nearly 82 million monthly listeners and more than 30 billion streams on Spotify alone. Scooter Braun has helped him build a wonderful catalog, and it’s a pleasure to welcome Justin and his amazing songs and recordings to the Hipgnosis family.
“I would like to thank Merck and its entire Hipgnosis team and all of our partners involved for working so hard to bring this historic agreement to fruition,” said Brown Scooter, director of Bieber for 15 years, founder of SB Projects and CEO of HYBE America. “When Justin made the decision to enter into a catalog deal, we quickly found the best partner to preserve and grow this incredible legacy was Merck and Hipgnosis. For over a decade now, Justin Bieber has entertained and moved us with some of the greatest songs in the world. I am so proud of him and everyone who has contributed over the years to amassing this amazing body of work. Justin is truly a once in a generation artist and that is reflected and recognized by the magnitude of this deal. For 15 years I have been grateful to witness this journey and today I am happy for all who have been on it. Justin’s greatness has only just begun.
Bieber was represented by Braun, David Bolno of the NKSFB, Aaron Rosenberg and Audrey Benoualid by Myman Greenspan Fox, and Michael Rhodes of Cooley.
Hipgnosis Songs Capital was represented by Guillaume Leibowitz of the William R. Leibowitz legal group, Seth Traxler and Rory Wellever of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Robert Fowler and Lisa Ong by HW Fisher.