Hipgnosis acquires 105 songs from Grammy-winner Andrew Watt in eight-figure deal

Merck Mercuriadis calls Andrew Watt “arguably the most important writer and producer in the world today”. Now, Hipgnosis Songs Fund has acquired 105 songs from Watt – including both the writer and publisher’s share of the compositions.

These songs include Watt’s stake in huge hits such as Señorita by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Havana by Camila Cabello (feat Young Thug), Let Me Love You by DJ Snake (feat Justin Bieber), Eastside by Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid, and Youngblood by 5 Seconds Of Summer.

Hipgnosis hasn’t disclosed what it paid for the songs from Watt (real name Andrew Wotman, who is managed by Scooter Braun). But MBW can make an educated estimate – and we believe it’s upwards of $45 million.

A filing this morning (May 5) reveals that the Watt catalog acquired by Hipgnosis generated $1.27m in 2017, $3.41m in 2018, and $4.34m in 2019.

Taken as a blended average across those three years, that comes out at a mean annual revenue of almost exactly $3m.

Hipgnosis has previously confirmed that it paid an average “blended acquisition multiple of 14.76x historic annual income” for its owned catalog (as of September 2020).

We can therefore be reasonably confident the Andrew Watt deal cost Hipgnosis at least $45 million (at a 15X times multiple of that $3m).

Considering Watt’s status as a superstar modern writer, this figure may even have gone up to or over $60 million (for a 20X multiple).

(Once again: these are MBW estimates, and have not been verified by Hipgnosis.)

The catalog acquired by Hipgnosis includes Watt songs written up to mid-2019.

It therefore doesn’t include some of Watt’s more recent hits – such as Take What You Want by Post Malone with Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott, plus five songs produced by Watt on Justin Bieber’s new album, Justice, and fresh tracks from Miley Cyrus (Midnight Sky, Prisoner) and Dua Lipa (Break My Heart).

However, Hipgnosis has secured a matching right on these tracks, in addition to Watt’s future songs.

Other Watt hits included in the deal include It Ain’t Me by Kygo and Selena Gomez, plus Wolves by Selena Gomez and Marshmello.

Watt has also written and/or produced hit songs for talent including Avicii, The Chainsmokers, Ellie Goulding, and Rita Ora.

“[Watt] is arguably the most important writer and producer in the world today and I don’t use those words lightly.”

Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis

Merck Mercuriadis, Founder of The Family (Music) Limited and Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said: “It is amazing to be welcoming Watt to the Hipgnosis Family just as he has been awarded the ‘Producer Of The Year’ Grammy for his work with Miley Cyrus, Post Malone et al, and as he has been Number 1 all over the world with Justin Bieber.

“He is arguably the most important writer and producer in the world today and I don’t use those words lightly. Watt and Scooter are an incredibly important part of our future.”

Andrew Watt said: “Joining the Hipgnosis family was a no brainer for me. Merck is one of the most passionate people about music I have ever met. Every conversation we have ever had starts with 30 minutes on The Ramones or The Clash…and then we meet at the record store to dig through the crates and talk shop. He is in the process of changing the game for songwriters. He leads his company by putting the creators first.”

Scooter Braun said: “Andrew is one of the most groundbreaking producers and songwriters of our time, and I’ve had the honor to have a front row seat to so many of his record-breaking achievements in the industry.

“His talent and creative process is unparalleled and we look forward to what the future holds in this new partnership with Merck.”

“Merck is in the process of changing the game for songwriters. He leads his company by putting the creators first.”

Andrew Watt

Today’s news comes after MBW revealed on Monday (May 3) that Hipgnosis had just struck a deal in the region of $150 million for a sought-after rock catalog.

This has since been revealed as the Red Hot Chili Peppers song catalog.

Andrew Watt signs his new Hipgnosis deal with Merck Mercuriadis (R) in Los Angeles – with Scooter Braun watching on in the background

Andrew Watt started his professional music career as a guitarist for other artists including Justin Bieber before founding rock band, California Breed, in 2013.

In 2015, Watt’s friendship with Justin Bieber acted as a catalyst for Watt to start writing and producing with Bieber alongside his solo work.

In the Hipgnosis deal, Watt was represented by manager Scooter Braun at SB Projects and attorney Doug Mark.Music Business Worldwide