Music superstars are cashing in on a red-hot market.
Justin Bieber on Tuesday joined a growing list of iconic singers who have struck mammoth deals to sell their music catalogs — or, in some cases, their masters — for hundreds of millions of dollars.
The song management company Hipgnosis said that it had acquired the rights to Bieber’s entire music catalog in an acquisition that “ranks among the biggest deals ever made for an artist under 70.” While the terms were not disclosed, Billboard reported that the price tag was a hulking $200 million.
The news comes amid a broader trend — one that has been on the rise since Merck Mercuriadis founded Hipgnosis in 2018 and started buying up rights to legendary tracks. “What I wanted to do on behalf of the entire songwriter community is to really establish music as an asset class and create a market,” Mercuriadis said on Tuesday, equating the value of hit songs to gold or oil. “I wanted to demonstrate to the financial community that these great proven songs have very predictable, reliable income and therefore they are investable.”
Mercuriadis has certainly helped lead the way in doing that. In the last few years, generational stars have inked nine-figure deals to hand over the rights to their catalogs. Bruce Springsteen sold his masters and publishing rights for a reported $500 million. Bob Dylan sold his catalog for a reported $300 million. And, younger artists have taken part in the action too, with singers such as John Legend and Iggy Azalea striking deals.
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So why are these deals taking place in the last few years? For