There are two interesting things to know about the latest acquisition from Hipgnosis Songs Fund.
The first is that the company has purchased the music royalty catalog of adult-contemporary hitmaker Barry Manilow, who has sold more than 85 million records during his career – making him one of the bestselling artists of all time.
The second is what, exactly, Hipgnosis has acquired: it’s bought 100% of Manilow’s worldwide recording royalties (excluding Sound Exchange royalties) in his catalog, comprising 917 songs.
It’s rare for Hipgnosis to do deals based on recordings, with the firm best known for its acquisitions of songwriter catalogs – but this isn’t the first time. For example, the company acquired the master recordings catalog of British band Kaiser Chiefs towards the end of last year.
Named the top “Adult Contemporary” chart artist of all time by both R&R and Billboard, Barry Manilow has had 12 No. 1 singles, plus 29 Top 10 and 50 Top 40 hits.
A Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, his many accolades include receiving the “BMI Icon Award”, Society of Singers’ “Lifetime Achievement Award”, American Music Awards’ “Favourite Pop/Rock Male Artist” three years running, a Tony Award, an Emmy Award and 15 Grammy Award nominations for his work as a producer, arranger, and performer.
Manilow’s biggest hits include ‘Mandy’ which was his first No. 1 in 1975 and has over 65 million streams on Spotify; ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; ‘Copacabana (At the Copa)’ which saw Barry Manilow win his first Grammy Award for ‘Best Male Pop Vocal Performance’ in 1979; ‘I Write the Songs’ which was No. 1 in the US and won “Song of the Year” as well as being nominated for “Record of the Year” at the 1976 Grammy Awards; and ‘Looks Like We Made It’ which was No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.
In addition to his work as a solo artist, Manilow has achieved significant critical and commercial success as a producer, with every album produced for another artist, including those for Bette Midler, Dionne Warwick, Nancy Wilson, and Sarah Vaughan, having been nominated for a Grammy Award.
Barry Manilow has also had a successful soundtrack career with film credits including the Oscar nominated song ‘Ready To Take A Chance Again’ from the 1978 film “Foul Play”, the production of Bette Midler’s ‘Perfect Isn’t Easy’ from Walt Disney’s “Oliver and Company”, and writing and scoring the soundtracks for the animated features “Thumbelina” and “The Pebble and the Penguin”.
Barry Manilow was represented by longtime manager Garry Kief and lawyer Doug Davis at The Davis Firm.
Merck Mercuriadis, Founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and The Family (Music) Limited, said: “Barry Manilow is an International treasure. He’s an incomparable artist, songwriter, arranger, musician and performer. In the 1970s and 80s he redefined mainstream entertainment and drove it to new heights of success with truly classic songs. From ‘Mandy’ to ‘I Write The Songs’, ‘Copacabana’ and ‘Looks Like We Made It’ he is one of those rare artists that unites everyone. We are honoured to have Barry and Garry join the Hipgnosis Family.”
Barry Manilow said: “Merck has created a new type of music company and I’m looking forward to being part of the family at The Family Music and Hipgnosis Songs.”
Garry Kief said: “I’ve known Merck for most of my 40 year career and have always respected him. At last I finally get to work with him.”Music Business Worldwide