Hipgnosis buys 50% stake in Rick James catalog, including master rights

Hipgnosis Songs Fund has made another big acquisition – the catalog of funk legend Rick James.

The deal not only includes a 50% stake in James’ publishing catalog (across both publisher and writer’s share), but also a 50% stake of the artist’s recorded music masters.

In addition, Hipgnosis has acquired a 50% stake in James’ neighboring rights income, collected via SoundExchange.

The catalog comprises 97 songs, including James’ best-known, platinum-certified album Street Songs which spent 78 weeks on the US R&B chart, including 20 weeks at No.1.

That album contains James’ biggest hit, Super Freak, which has more than 100 million streams on Spotify and was sampled for MC Hammer’s global smash U Can’t Touch This.

It also contained Give It to Me, which spent five weeks at No. 1 on the US R&B Billboard chart and has been streamed over 46 million times on Spotify.

Rick James is amongst the most sampled and interpolated artists of all time whose work has been re-born via new songs and recordings by Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Ray, ASAP Rocky, Jay Z and many more.

The catalog was acquired using proceeds from the Hipgnosis C Share fundraising in July, when it raised $300m.

Merck Mercuriadis, Founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and The Family (Music) Limited, said: “Rick James was a true innovator. His “Punk Funk” philosophy and style paved the way and influenced everyone from Prince to Michael Jackson to Jay Z and the biggest names in hip hop.

“All the while he was an incredible songwriter, producer, arranger, performer and artist making iconic songs like ‘Super Freak’ and ‘Give It to Me Baby’. He’s one of the most sampled and interpolated creators of all time whose works have been turned into huge successes by MC Hammer, Lana Del Ray and Kendrick Lamar just to name a few.

“We are delighted to welcome his iconic work to the Hipgnosis Family and look forward to working closely with his daughter Ty James and his estate to ensure his legacy shines.”

“Rick James’ ‘Punk Funk’ philosophy and style paved the way and influenced everyone from Prince to Michael Jackson to Jay Z and the biggest names in hip-hop.”

Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis

Ty James said: “We are excited about our new venture with Hipgnosis, and pleased to establish this epic partnership with a company that truly appreciates the dynamic diversity of my Dad’s music. Music that transcends through decades.

“Our goal is for my Dad’s music to not only live, but to stay forever young and in the hearts of our families, friends, fans. We are elated for what’s to come from the union of our powerful musical entities working together. More greatness to come.”

Rick James initially found success in 1977 after forming The Stone City Band with their debut album Come Get It! reaching No. 3 of the US R&B albums chart. Come Get It! featured two hit singles with You and I reaching No. 1 on the US R&B Billboard, and Mary Jane reaching Number 5 on the US R&B Billboard and having been streamed on Spotify over 40 million times.

Rick James was also known for his soulful ballads including Fire & Desire, a duet with singer Teena Marie.

In addition to singing and songwriting, Rick James had a successful career as a producer; working on hits including Eddie Murphy’s Party All the Time, The Temptations’ Standing on the Top, and with R&B, soul and funk group, Mary Jane Girls.Music Business Worldwide

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