Hipgnosis Acquires Tricky Stewart Songs, Including 'Single Ladies' and 'Baby'

Christopher Tricky Stewart
Catrina Maxwell/WireImage for NARAS

Christopher "Tricky" Stewart attend the Grammy FutureNOW event at the W Atlanta Buckhead on April 5, 2014 in Atlanta.

Hipgnosis Songs, the music IP investment company set up by former Beyoncé and Guns N' Roses manager Merck Mercuriadis, has announced its fifth major acquisition of 2018, picking up 121 songs by Grammy winning songwriter and producer Christopher "Tricky" Stewart.

Terms were not disclosed for the deal, which gives Hipgnosis a 100 percent interest in the catalog, including ASCAP income.

The deal covers Stewart's songwriting credits on a number of global pop hits, including Rihanna's "Umbrella", Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)", Justin Bieber's "Baby", the 2003 Britney Spears and Madonna collaboration "Me Against The Music" and Mariah Carey's 2008 single "Touch My Body," all of which were co-written with The-Dream.

Earlier this year, The-Dream, real name Terius Youngdell Nash, became the first artist to partner with Hipgnosis Songs, selling a 75 percent stake in his catalog for a sum that could rise to more than $23 million.

Other acquisitions concluded by Guernsey-registered Hipgnosis over the past six months include the catalog of frequent Justin Bieber collaborator Jason Boyd, better known as Poo Bear; a 37.5 percent stake in the catalog of Chic co-founder Bernard Edwards; and 121 songs by English songwriting and music production trio TMS. 

Commenting on its latest deal, Mercuriadis called the acquisition of Stewart's catalog -- which also songs performed by Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Rick Ross, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Scherzinger and Ciara -- "tremendously important" to the company's future growth. 

"In addition to giving us greater ownership of multiple Grammy Award winning Number 1 songs like Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" we are also reuniting the catalogues of Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, who are arguably the finest song-writing duo of their time," said the one-time CEO of London-based The Sanctuary Group and former manager of Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Morrissey, Iron Maiden, Beyoncé and Diane Warren.

Mercuriadis praised Stewart as a "tremendous individual, writer, producer and musician whose work backs up all of the tremendous accolades and success." For his part, Stewart said "there is a right way and wrong way to do everything [and] the sale of my catalog to Hipgnosis is right for me." 

"Selling to a friend who is fuelled by purpose, motivated to do great things, with a disruptive spirit and vigour caught my attention, and ultimately led to me completing this transaction," said the Illinois-born songwriter, promising to create another catalog filled with "hits and culture" over the next five years."  

"Merck and Hipgnosis are definitely buyers that have respect for the songs and for the writers who created them, and even the stories behind the creations," added Stewart's manager Mark E. Stewart. He called Mercuriadis a "music man first" who "happens to make deals with the utmost respect for the creator."

Earlier this year, Hipgnosis raised £200 million ($260 million) in capital through an IPO with its investment prospectus identifying emerging markets, improved tracking of royalties through technology and music usage in social media among the future growth opportunities for royalty income to rise. 

Billboard understands that a number of further catalog acquisitions are imminent and could be announced before the end of the year. "The intention is for the fund to invest over £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in catalogues in due course," Mercuriadis tells Billboard in an email.