Hit record producer, singer and songwriter The-Dream has become the first artist to partner with Hipgnosis Songs, a music IP investment company set up by former Beyoncé and Guns N' Roses manager Merck Mercuriadis.
The deal sees the London Stock Exchange listed business agree to acquire a 75 percent stake in The-Dream's catalog for a sum that could rise to more than $23 million.
The remaining 25 percent interest in the catalog will be retained by the singer-songwriter, real name Terius Youngdell Nash. The acquisition comprises just over 300 songs and includes 25 Billboard top 10 songs and four Grammy Award winners, either written, co-written or produced by The-Dream.
Notable tracks include Rihanna's global smash "Umbrella," which topped the charts in more than 20 countries, Beyonce's 2010 Grammy-winning song of the year "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," Justin Bieber's "Baby" and Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body." Other songwriting/production credits include the 2003 Britney Spears and Madonna duet "Me Against the Music," Kanye West's "All Of The Lights" and Jay-Z's "Holy Grail," featuring Justin Timberlake.
"I'm proud to be part of this beautiful venture," said The-Dream in a statement. Hailing Mercuriadis as a visionary "music titan," he went on to praise the veteran Canada-born exec for supporting his ambition to become this generation's Babyface and Dr. Dre.
"Merck sees me as I see myself," said the hit-maker. "In making this decision I said to Merck "I need a Jimmy Iovine in my life," not just to nurture my songs, but to also help solidify the legacy I seek for myself and my songs even after I'm gone, for my children and beyond. His reply was simply, 'I got it!'"
"It's critical for us to set the highest standards with our first acquisition," added Mercuriadis, who was CEO of London-based The Sanctuary Group prior to its sale to Universal Music in 2007 and counts Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Morrissey, Iron Maiden, Beyoncé and Diane Warren among his former management clients.
"The-Dream is not only arguably the culturally most important songwriter of his generation, but he has written the marquee songs for the culturally most significant artists," said Mercuriadis.
As part of the acquisition deal, The-Dream joins Hipgnosis Songs advisory board, which also includes Nile Rodgers (who is managed by Mercuriadis) alongside manager Ian Montone (Jack White, LCD Soundsystem, Vampire Weekend), Lava Records CEO Jason Flom and entertainment lawyer William Leibowitz.
Last month, the Guernsey-registered company raised £200 million ($260 million) in capital through an IPO. In addition to acquiring a majority stake in The-Dream's catalog, Hipgnosis has identified a further seven "pipeline' catalogs it wishes to acquire collectively spanning over 1,000 songs from each of the past five decades that have been performed by more than 50 global artists, including Adele and Kanye West.
Its investment prospectus identifies emerging markets, improved tracking and collection of royalties through technology, and music usage in social media among the future growth opportunities for royalty income to rise, providing good returns to investors.