Hipgnosis Song Management has acquired 80% of country superstar Kenny Chesney’s recorded music royalties.
The deal is the first acquisition made by Hipgnosis since its new $1 billion partnership with Blackstone, announced in October, to acquire music rights and manage catalogs and is also Hipgnosis’s first deal with a country superstar.
The pact covers Chesney’s recorded music royalties over a 23-year period, from 1994’s In My Wildest Dreams, his debut on Capricorn Records, through 2017’s Live in No Shoes Nation. Chesney recorded for Sony Music Nashville imprints from 1995 to 2017. The deal also includes future greatest hits, live and acoustic albums.
Chesney switched to Warner Music Nashville in 2018 and the deal does not include any of his recorded music royalties for 2018’s Songs for the Saints and 2020’s Here and Now release on his new label home. However, the agreement does include Sound Exchange and neighboring rights royalties for all albums in Chesney’s catalog, including the Warner Music Nashville releases.
Chesney’s catalog spans 22 albums, including 17 No. 1s on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.
Hipgnosis did not reveal any financial details of the deal, however; country music royalty deals — both master recordings and publishing — tend to lag behind those for pop and rock. “Country is dependent on radio, and when radio stops playing a country song, its royalty streams decay rapidly,” Shot Town Capital’s co-founder/managing partner David Dunn told Billboard in December 2020. “Also, country doesn’t synch as well as rock and pop. It just doesn’t have the broad reach of rock and pop on a worldwide basis.”