Just over two years after it floated on the London Stock Exchange, Hipgnosis Songs Fund is entering the next phase of its growth.
The company, founded by CEO Merck Mercuriadis, generated over USD $80m in its last fiscal year, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal to spend today, and recently saw its market cap valuation soar above GBP £1 billion for the first time.
Now, it’s recruited two respected music industry heavyweights to help maximize returns from the big-money acquisitions it continues to make week-in, week-out.
Ted Cockle, the former head of Universal’s biggest label in the UK – Virgin EMI (now EMI Records) – has been named President of Hipgnosis Songs Fund.
Joining him is Amy Thomson – formerly manager of Swedish House Mafia and DJ Snake, and a marketing advisor to Kanye West – who is named Chief Catalogue Officer at Hipgnosis.
The arrival into the music publishing world of two marketing specialists who’ve each managed blockbuster success in the modern record business (and in Thomson’s case, the modern live business) will certainly get the global industry talking.
How confident is Merck Mercuriadis in his newly-hired duo? Extremely.
“I don’t believe there’s a traditional publisher that has brought together this level of expertise to manage its songs.”
Merck Mercuriadis, CEO & Founder, Hipgnosis Songs Fund
The Hipgnosis founder comments: “It’s a testament to the iconic song catalogue that we have assembled over the last two-plus years, and our songwriters, that we have been able to attract executives with the extraordinary talent, pedigree and success of Ted and Amy.
“I’ve been very vocal about disrupting the world of traditional publishing with ‘Song Management’. In Song Management we actively manage our songs with great responsibility to higher levels of success.
“I don’t believe there’s a traditional publisher that has brought together this level of expertise to manage its songs. Our results have been strong and with Ted and Amy now on board I look forward to everything their passion and know-how will help us to achieve.”
Cockle left his role as President of Virgin EMI in June.
Under his leadership Virgin EMI was consistently the UK’s biggest label in terms of album-equivalent market share, enjoying particular success with artists such as Queen, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, George Michael, Justin Bieber, Emeli Sandé, The Killers and Lewis Capaldi.
Prior to this, Cockle served for 10 years at Sony Music, under the guidance of now-Sony Music Group boss Rob Stringer, before arriving at Universal to become co-President of Island Records, handling the careers of artists such as Amy Winehouse, Florence & The Machine, Paul Weller, Tom Jones and Mumford & Sons.
Amy Thomson arrives at Hipgnosis as Chief Catalogue Officer following her successes in management and marketing, where she oversaw the careers of Swedish House Mafia, DJ Snake, Seal and many others.
Over her career as a manager, ATM Artists founder Thomson took Swedish House Mafia to Madison Square Garden, selling out the venue in four minutes, followed by their final tour which sold one million tickets in a week.
“Alongside Merck, Amy and the Hipgnosis team I’m very much looking forward to help re-establish and to help grow the value of these classic songs.”
Ted Cockle, President, Hipgnosis Songs Fund
Her strategy combined the use of the band’s singles with high-impact marketing campaigns, seeing the band sell out stadiums without ever having released an album.
Her management of DJ Snake included the release and marketing of his album Carte Blanche and the huge single Taki Taki, taking streams for DJ Snake in 2019 to over 8 billion, with a focus on emerging markets.
Thomson’s marketing campaigns have included Yeezus with Kanye West and his team, launching the campaign for that album with 66 building projections of New Slaves worldwide in one night.
Thomson closed her management business in December 2019 to focus on her passion for catalogue management and designed an online system to help artists find, track and trace their songs.
That platform has now undergone two test phases with “major names” agreeing to lend their catalogues. It will launch, including Hipgnosis’ catalogue, in 2021.
“Songs are legacies and managing them as if each one was its own Artist has become a passion. now I have a chance to work on some of the greatest catalogues on earth with Merck and Ted and I cannot wait to start.”
Amy Thomson, Chief Catalogue Officer, Hipgnosis Songs Fund
In a press release, Hipgnosis said that Cockle and Thomson will be “applying their proven form, structure and process to continue to grow and care for songs and their legacy within the growing Hipgnosis Songs catalogue globally”.
Ted Cockle said: “Each year of my career, I’ve witnessed how the excellence and magic of individual songs proves to be the catalyst for streaming success, album sales, artist careers, filled venues and growing market shares. Alongside Merck, Amy and the Hipgnosis team I’m very much looking forward to help re-establish and to help grow the value of these classic songs.”
Amy Thomson said: “I genuinely love managing songs. They’re like stories to me, chapters in the life of the songwriter and the impact they have in creating new stories for the listener. Over the last three years I became obsessed with diving into the care of catalogue as we see songs become pensions. The care and attention of nurturing it for its entire life.
“Songs are legacies and managing them as if each one was its own Artist has become a passion and now I have a chance to work on some of the greatest catalogues on earth with Merck and Ted and I cannot wait to start.”Music Business Worldwide