From Hipgnosis’ catalogs sale proposal to DistroKid’s Bandzoogle acquisition… it’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up
Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly round-up – where we make sure you caught the five biggest stories to hit our headlines over the past seven days. MBW’s round-up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.
This week, UK-listed Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF) issued a proposal to its shareholders to sell 29 catalogs from its portfolio for USD $440 million to another Hipgnosis fund – the private, Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital (HSC).
Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s primary motivation for selling the 29 catalogs to HSC, according to an announcement to investors on Thursday (September 14), is that it will act “as a catalyst for a re-rating of [HSF’s] share price”.
Also this week, Paris-headquartered Believe applauded Deezer‘s new ‘artist-centric’ streaming model created in tandem with Universal Music Group, but questioned the model’s impact on “rising artists”.
Elsewhere, independent music distributor DistroKid acquired website hosting company Bandzoogle, which offers various e-commerce tools for musicians.
Plus, a family feud is playing out over the rights to the works of Motown songwriter and producer Ron Miller, while song royalties trading platform JKBX is now officially live.
Here’s what happened this week…
1) HIPGNOSIS’ BLACKSTONE FUND SET TO SPEND $440M BUYING 29 CATALOGS FROM HIPGNOSIS’ UK-LISTED FUND; COMPETITORS HAVE 40 DAYS TO TRY AND OUTBID ITS OFFER.
As predicted by MBW earlier this year, UK-listed Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF) has issued its shareholders a proposal to sell 29 catalogs from its portfolio for USD $440 million to another Hipgnosis fund – the private, Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital (HSC).
In an announcement to its investors this morning, Hipgnosis Songs Fund (aka HSF, aka SONG) makes no bones about one of its primary motivations for selling the 29 catalogs to HSC: That it will act “as a catalyst for a re-rating of [HSF’s] share price”.
If the proposed $440 million sale is completed, Hipgnosis Songs Fund says it would remain the owner of 81% of its existing portfolio by Fair Value, with an increased focus on older vintages.
Hipgnosis Songs Fund would retain ownership of seven of its ten largest catalogs post-the deal, says the company.
Hipgnosis Songs Fund has also proposed to its shareholders that it sell a second portfolio of catalogs – incorporating 20,000 ‘non-core’ songs – this time not to Hipgnosis Songs Capital, but to a third party on the private market.
The proposed price for this transaction is USD $25 million, taking the full amount of catalog sales proposed by HSF this week to $465 million…
2) BELIEVE APPLAUDS DEEZER’S ACTION ON ‘NOISE’ – BUT QUESTIONS NEW ‘ARTIST-CENTRIC’ ROYALTY MODEL’S IMPACT ON ‘RISING ARTISTS’
Last week, Deezer announced the launch of a new ‘artist-centric’ streaming model, created in tandem with Universal Music Group. The model is designed, according to Deezer, “to better reward the artists, and the music that fans value the most”.
On Monday (September 11), Believe – like Deezer, a Paris-headquartered company – issued its response to the news.
Believe expressed some applause for the model – but also expressed some concerns…
3) DISTROKID ACQUIRES WEBSITE HOSTING AND E-COMMERCE COMPANY BANDZOOGLE
Independent music distributor DistroKid has acquired website hosting company Bandzoogle.
Bandzoogle offers various e-commerce tools allowing musicians to market and sell products directly to their fanbases.
According to DistroKid, the Bandzoogle acquisition means that artists will now be able to power digital, physical and on-demand merch and music sales all “within the DistroKid ecosystem…”
4) JKBX GOES LIVE, FEATURING LISTINGS TO RESERVE SHARES IN ROYALTIES FROM HITS BY BEYONCÉ, ED SHEERAN AND MORE SUPERSTARS
Song royalties trading platform JKBX is officially live.
The platform’s arrival in the music business has been talked about a lot this year, with the company announcing in a press release last month that it is aiming to “become a transformative force in music and investing”.
The JKBX platform, co-founded by CEO Scott Cohen, (co-founder of The Orchard and formerly Chief Innovation Officer at Warner Music Group), will offer its users the ability to invest in Royalty Shares for compositions and sound recordings of hit songs….
5) MOTOWN SONGWRITING LEGEND RON MILLER’S FAMILY IN LEGAL FIGHT OVER ROYALTIES
A dramatic family feud is playing out over the rights to the works of Motown songwriter and producer Ron Miller – with a music industry publishing giant caught in the middle.
Miller, known best for co-writing For Once In My Life – a track that became a Hot 100 hit for Tony Bennett, a No.2 hit for Stevie Wonder, and was also recorded by Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, The Temptations and others – died in 2007, but his heirs have become embroiled in a complicated dispute over his royalties.
In 2022, Sony Music Publishing reportedly signed a deal with one of Miller’s children, Lisa Dawn Miller, to administer the rights for 130 of the late songwriter’s compositions.
Now two of Lisa Miller’s half-siblings, also children of Ron Miller, allege that she gained control over those copyrights by illegitimate means, and have gone to court over the matter.