Hipgnosis Songs, the music IP investment company set up by former Beyoncé and Guns N’ Roses manager Merck Mercuriadis, has picked up the catalog of Ari Levine, the co-writer of many of Bruno Mars’ biggest hits.
Terms were not disclosed for the deal, which sees Hipgnosis Songs acquire a 100 percent of Levine’s copyright ownership in 76 songs that he wrote or co-wrote, including his full writers share of performance income collected and distributed by Global Music Rights (GMR).
Listed among those songs are Mars’ U.S. No. 1s “Just The Way You Are”, “Grenade”, ‘When I Was Your Man” and “Locked Out of Heaven,” which became the first single to top the Billboard Hot 100, Radio Songs, Digital Songs and On-Demand Songs charts simultaneously in 2012.
The deal also covers Levine’s songwriters share of chart hits “F**k You” by Cee Lo Green, “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy, “Nothin’ On You” by B.o.B. and “One Day” by Matisyahu.
As a member of the three-piece writing and production group The Smeezingtons (whose members also include Bruno Mars and Philip Lawrence), Levine co-wrote and produced Bruno Mars’ first two studio albums and has racked up 99 No. 1s globally, according to Hipgnosis. Company founder Mercuriadis called him “one of the most important writers and producers of the new pop era.”
“Ari’s work has resulted in some of the most highly regarded and enduring songs of the last 10 years. He has everyone’s respect and I’m delighted to welcome him to the Hipgnosis family,” said Mercuriadis, who was CEO of London-based The Sanctuary Group before its 2007 sale to Universal Music and counts Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Morrissey, Iron Maiden, Beyoncé and Diane Warren among his former management clients.
Hipgnosis’ deal for Levine’s catalog is the company’s 17th acquisition since raising over £200 million ($260 million) in capital in June 2018. In April of this year it raised a further £140 million ($177 million) in equity capital. An investment prospectus identifies emerging markets and improved tracking of royalties among future opportunities to grow royalty income.
Earlier this month, Hipgnosis completed one of its biggest deals to date when it acquired the full catalog of Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart, comprising over 1,000 songs in total and including his writer’s, artist’s and producer’s share of income.
The Guernsey-registered company also holds stakes in the catalogs of Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, The-Dream, Poo Bear, Chic co-founder Bernard Edwards, Teddy Geiger and Itaal Shur, best known for co-writing the Santana and Rob Thomas smash hit “Smooth,” among others.
In a statement announcing its latest acquisition, Levine said he “couldn’t be happier with a better home for my catalog. Merck and Hipgnosis are the right executive and company team to look after my musical legacy. I’m proud to have my catalogue in their hands and I’m confident in their ability to grow its value and influence in the upcoming decades.”
The songwriter’s brother and manager Josh Levine added: “After searching high and low for the right partner, it’s refreshing to find a company like Hipgnosis that not only says what they are going to do but actually follows through with it. I’m excited to have Merck looking over Ari’s catalogue and I’m sure he will care for it like I have over these past 10 years.”