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Music investment fund Hipgnosis snaps up producer Jimmy Iovine’s entire back catalogue

American music producer Jimmy lovine

American music producer Jimmy lovine

Music rights investment fund Hipgnosis Songs has snapped up the entire back catalogue from renowned producer Jimmy lovine for an undisclosed sum.  

The portfolio includes 259 songs, from artists including Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Dire Straits and U2, along with lovine’s film production royalties for ‘8 Mile’ and ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’. 

This is the latest move for Hipgnosis, co-founded by a former manager of Elton John, and it has already invested almost £1.2billion in procuring over 110 catalogues that count songs from artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Blondie, and the Kaiser Chiefs. 

Many of those catalogues were purchased in the period covering its latest half-year results, which were published in December 2020 and showed its revenues almost doubling from £22.6million to £44.8billion in the six months to the end of September. 

During that time, it raised £426million from two placings in July and September and obtained 63 new catalogues.

In the run up to Christmas the music fund celebrated chart success, as Mariah Carey’s song ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ made it to number one in the UK charts for the first time in its history. Hipgnosis only acquired rights to the festive hit in September and it remains the most popular Christmas song on Spotify. 

The deal with lovine will further bolster the company’s portfolio.  

Lovine rose to prominence as an engineer working with John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen before exploring the role of producer. 

He produced Patti Smith’s critically acclaimed, ‘Easter’ in 1978 and the UK Top 5 hit single ‘Because The Night’. Following on from this success, he went on to work with dozens of artists.

Moving away from production Iovine co-founded Interscope Records in 1990 which saw him become one of the most prominent figures in the music industry, developing the careers of Tupac, Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, Nine Inch Nails, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga and many more.

He went on to  co-produce the box office hit ‘8 Mile’ in 2002 starring Eminem which grossed over $240 million and sold over 15 million copies globally.

Adding another string to his bow, lovine co-founded Beats Electronics and Beats Music with Dre in 2008.

Lovine's portfolio includes 259 songs, from artists including Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Dire Straits and U2 (pictured)

Lovine’s portfolio includes 259 songs, from artists including Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Dire Straits and U2 (pictured)

In 2016 he sold the firms to Apple for $3 billion and he became the executive force for the launch of Apple Music and Beats 1. 

He left this post in 2018 and has since dedicated his time to smaller passion projects. 

He will use the funds from the Hipgnosis acquisition to build a high school in inner-city Los Angeles.  

Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis says he is a major fan of lovine’s work and he applauded the producer’s philanthropic work.

Looking ahead, he says his firm has ‘an incredible pipeline and [we] are very excited for 2021’.

The Canadian-born music industry executive started the investment business with Chic’s Nile Rodgers after years of managing a vast roster of platinum-selling bands and solo artists like Guns ‘n’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Beyonce, and Morrissey.

After years of working with platinum-selling musicians like Iron Maiden, Canadian-born Merck Mercuriadis (right) co-founded Hipgnosis with songwriter Nile Rodgers of Chic (left)

After years of working with platinum-selling musicians like Iron Maiden, Canadian-born Merck Mercuriadis (right) co-founded Hipgnosis with songwriter Nile Rodgers of Chic (left)

His fund co-owns four of the Top Five Billboard Songs of the 2010s: Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk, Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, Closer by electronic duo The Chainsmokers, and Maroon 5’s Girls Like You.

The group’s financial success is partly predicated on the belief that earnings from songs will remain strong because people will always want to listen to music regardless of broader economic circumstances.

‘While we would not have wished for a pandemic to demonstrate this, it has indeed done exactly that, and that has been reflected in our strong performance,’ Mercuriadis commented.

Hipgnosis sometimes buys royalty rights directly from musicians. In August, they bought all of Barry Manilow’s worldwide recording royalties as well as the 197-song catalogue of new wave band Blondie.

Last year, Leeds-based rock group Kaiser Chiefs also traded the master rights to their first four albums, along with their greatest hits and live albums, which include their popular singles Ruby, Modern Way, and I Predict a Riot. 

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