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Why This Publicly Traded Fund Wants to Buy Your Songs
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Why This Publicly Traded Fund Wants to Buy Your Songs

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund, and superproducer Nile Rodgers, a member of his advisory board, discuss their song-rights shopping spree, the $500 million they’ve raised for it, and how the first public investment vehicle for publishing rights is heating up the song market.

In the ‘90s, publishing was seen as a quiet corner of the music business – stable, but not especially exciting. But over the past twenty years, it has grown into one of the most vital parts of the industry, as entertainment conglomerates and institutional investors realized that music publishing is one of the few investments with both reliable returns and the potential for growth.

Since July 2018, there’s even been a publishing fund listed on the London Stock Exchange – Hipgnosis Songs. Founded by Merck Mercuriadis, who has managed artists including Elton John, Beyonce and Guns N’ Roses, the fund has raised more than $500 million to buy rights – and acquired compositions from The-Dream, Dave Stewart, the Chainsmokers, and others.

It’s a compelling pitch to Wall Street: the value of song catalogs has skyrocketed over the past two decades, from ten times net publishers share to in some cases double that. But some executives worry that the value of blue-chip catalogs are being bid up beyond reason. Mercuriadis and Rodgers will discuss what a song is worth, what makes one a good investment now, and how their bullish bidding is impacting the entire music business.

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