It’s expected that the agreement, which covers the superstar’s interests in his publishing and recorded music repertoire, will be finalised within the next few days.
According to insiders, Justin Bieber is in negotiations with H Hipgnosis Songs Capital to purchase his interests in his publishing and recorded music archives for more than $200 million. The deal is expected to close soon. The purchase would contain all of Justin Bieber’s top singles, from “Baby” through “Love Yourself” and beyond.
Hipgnosis founder and CEO Merck Mercuriadis stated the company was attempting to “complete roughly $500 million in transactions between now and mid-December” in correspondence with Billboard in mid-November. The rumoured Bieber transaction appears to be a potential part of that revelation, even though he did not specify the deals at the time. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the impending partnership between Bieber and Hipgnosis.
The new contract is announced at the conclusion of a year in which the market for music catalogues experienced a slowdown. Although well-known artists such as Justin Timberlake (who sold to Hipgnosis for $100 million), Sting (who sold to UMPG for an estimated $360 million), Genesis (who sold a package deal to Concord for about $350 million), David Bowie (whose estate sold his publishing catalogue to Warner Chappell for $250 million), and others closed deals in the last twelve months for blockbuster prices, 2022 has been a noticeably quieter year compared to the hot market of the previous five years.
Joe Brenner, a partner at the entertainment law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, said in an interview with Billboard this fall that “the environment has changed entirely since the end of last year” — interest rates are significantly higher and currency exchange rates are very different. “I don’t think the current market is what it was,” Brenner said. This year’s environment has proven to be more “difficult,” Mercuriadis said in a mid-year letter to investors. Brenner concluded by saying that as a result of many of the expensive classic rock catalogues having already been sold, there are simply less of them available for purchase (Pink Floyd being a notable exception).
A catalogue that is only a few years old, like Bieber’s, is frequently viewed as a riskier investment than one that has had more time to demonstrate its ability to endure, and as a result, tends to command less money. Hipgnosis frequently choose to put their money toward these more recent song collections, nevertheless. The company has staked a lot on buying contemporary classics to fill out its over 65,000-song library, which also includes songs by more established icons like Journey, Leonard Cohen, and Barry Manilow. This is evident in the Timberlake catalogue purchase this year as well as other purchases like Jack Antonoff, Mark Ronson, Timbaland, and others.
In collaboration with Blackstone, Hipgnosis created the investment company known as Hipgnosis Songs Capital. The private equity group with headquarters in New York promised to invest an additional $1 billion in music IP and also acquired a majority interest. The Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which buys music publishing and recording rights, is a different entity from the London-listed Hipgnosis Songs Capital. Hipgnosis Songs Management, which oversees the catalogue of the publicly traded corporation, is also a part of the Mercuriadis-founded business.
Inquiries for comment from Billboard have gone unanswered by Hipgnosis and Bieber’s reps.