Justin Bieber has sold the publishing rights to his music to Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital for north of $200 million, confirming earlier reports of a pending deal.
The price tag makes the sale the largest for any artist of Bieber’s generation, Billboard reported. The 28-year-old pulled in as much money as some of the major stars of the Baby Boom.
It’s also the biggest deal so far for the Merck Mercuriadis’ Hipgnosis, which inked a $100 million deal in May with Justin Timberlake and bought 50% of Neil Young‘s catalog for $150 million in 2021. Hipgnosis also bought Latin superstar Shakira’s catalog of 145 songs.
Hipgnosis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.
The deal with Bieber covers all 290 titles in his catalog released before Dec. 31, 2022, including 2021’s “Justice,” and also includes his artist royalties from his master recordings and neighboring rights, Billboard reported. The singer’s songs will continue to be administered by Universal Music, the singer’s longtime label, according to Variety.
“The impact of Justin Bieber on global culture over the last 14 years has truly been remarkable,” Mercuriadis said in a statement. “This acquisition ranks among the biggest deals ever made for an artist under the age of 70, such is the power of this incredible catalog that has almost 82 million monthly listeners and over 30 billion streams on Spotify alone. Scooter Braun has helped him build a magnificent catalog, and it’s a pleasure to welcome Justin and his incredible songs and recordings to the Hipgnosis family.”
The deal is one of a wave of catalog sales in the industry in recent years. Most of the big money has gone to stars with longer careers, most notably Bob Dylan, who sold his iconic catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group in 2020 for reportedly over $300 million, Bruce Springsteen, who netted $500 million from Sony last year, and Genesis and Phil Collins, who sold theirs for $300 million in September.
The list of major performers who have sold all or parts of their catalog also includes the Beach Boys, John Legend, Stevie Nicks and the late David Crosby and David Bowie, among dozens of others across genres, like RZA of the Wu Tang Clan and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Songs by these artists and dozens of others are appearing more frequently in advertising and other, sometimes unexpected, settings.
The trend has frequently involved private equity firms providing the cash behind the deals, as they see a promising future for income generated through use of the songs, particularly from the digital world. Mercuriadis has said he is in the “song management” business, not the music publishing business.
Artists are also still contending with a loss of income from live performances during the pandemic and the dramatic shift to streaming that has greatly reduced what they can take home from even big hits. The sizable paydays they’re being offered make such catalog deals hard to resist.