The news comes as JPMorgan estimates that 80% of Hipgnosis’ £23m revenues in the six months to end of September came from 143 songs, equivalent to just 1.3% of the company’s current catalog of 11,225 compositions.
If mega-hits are the driving force behind Hipgnosis’ performance, its investors will be pleased to see that it just picked up a few more.
London-based Hipgnosis, led by Merck Mercuriadis (pictured), has confirmed that it has bought 100% of Johnny McDaid’s interest in his catalogue of songs released before 1 April 2019 – a total of 91 compositions.
These include songs co-written songs with Ed Sheeran, Pink, Shawn Mendes, Robbie Williams and Snow Patrol that have streamed over 20 billion times and earned over 600 platinum awards and 14 diamond awards.
The catalog includes McDaid’s contribution to Sheeran hits such as Shape Of You, Photograph, Bloodtsream and Galway Girl, plus Pink’s Grammy-nominated What About Us.
“Merck’s background as an artist manager enabled him to quickly understand what was important to Johnny in this deal and deliver on it.”
Johnny McDaid was represented by his manager Erik Eger, business manager Kevin McCullough, lawyer Willie Ryan, and spearheaded by attorney Michael Poster of Michelman and Robinson.
Merck Mercuriadis, Founder of The Family (Music) Limited and Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said: “It’s hard to have some of the biggest songs in the world and yet still be so underrated but Johnny is one of the most extraordinary creators and his work with Ed and so many others speaks for itself and it’s an honour to welcome him and Erik to the Hipgnosis family.”
Erik Eger said: “Merck’s background as an artist manager enabled him to quickly understand what was important to Johnny in this deal and deliver on it.
“Johnny and I are encouraged by Merck’s mission of advocating for songwriters and wish him every success in this endeavor.”
The Jack Antonoff acquisition comprises the worldwide publishing and writer share of performance income for 188 songs.
Antonoff will retain an interest in the catalog, which, judging by the Hipgnosis interim report, will be a 1% share – with 99% owned by Merck Mercuriadis-led fund.
Antonoff’s catalog includes smash hits such as Fun.’s We Are Young, plus his contributions to Taylor Swift’s last three albums – including three songs on the Grammy-winning 1989 and five songs on Reputation. In addition, Antonoff has co-written the likes of Sara Bareilles’ 3x US platinum Brave, and Lorde’s Green Light.
“Merck and his team have a great reverence for the craft of songwriting and have created a home where artistic integrity is at the forefront.”
Jack Antonoff & Tyler Childs
Jack Antonoff is represented by Tyler Childs at Forward Artist Management and Gillian Bar of Carroll Guido Groffman Cohen Bar & Karalian, LLP.
Merck Mercuriadis, said: “I consider Jack to be amongst the most elite creators of our time. The songs he has co-created with Fun, Taylor Swift, Lorde, St. Vincent and Lana Del Ray are sublime and the very best in pop music with integrity. It’s a great privilege to welcome Jack and Tyler into the Hipgnosis Songs family and we are very excited to be working together.”
In a statement, Jack Antonoff and his manager Tyler Childs said: “It’s an honor to partner with the Hipgnosis Songs family. Merck and his team have a great reverence for the craft of songwriting and have created a home where artistic integrity is at the forefront. We look forward to this new chapter.”
Elsewhere, Hipgnosis has this month also acquired catalogs from two star producers – Emile Haynie and Brendan O’Brien.
The firm has confirmed it now owns 100% of Brendan O’Brien’s interest in his catalog, which comprises his worldwide producer royalties for 1,855 works – recorded by artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and many more.
Like fellow producer Jeff Bhasker, O’Brien and Haynie are both repped by outgoing Geffen boss, Neil Jacobson.
Jacobson said: “Merck is an art collector with a keen eye for masterpieces rather than say a commodities guy who is just valuing income streams. I realize when you zoom out they probably are pretty close to the same thing but it makes a difference to me and to my artists to know that whoever is acquiring this great music understands it and loves it.”
“Merck is an art collector with a keen eye for masterpieces rather than say a commodities guy who is just valuing income streams.”
Specifically referencing the O’Brien deal with Hipgnosis, Neil Jacobson said: “Brendan is not only a metaphorical first ballot hall of famer in the production world, and not only does this catalogue speak for its self (Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Bruce Springsteen etc) but you also have to understand how incredible the quality of each vocal is.
“His ear for vocal production – a very specific thing in music production – might be one of the greatest of all time. Each one of these copyrights is a case study in what we call a magic vocal. That’s one aspect of the ‘art of Brendan O’Brien’ in my personal opinion.”
Brendan O’Brien said: “Merck and Hipgnosis were really passionate about the Music I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of over the years. They are Music people and their commitment made me feel like the records would be in safe hands.”Music Business Worldwide