In Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” the Barbadian songstress sings about “stacking chips for a rainy day.”
Private Equity companies worldwide have followed her advice. And, recently, the chips they been stacking are music catalogues. Blackstone Capital’s recent $1 billion investment in music copyrights, a partnership with Hipgnosis is just one recent example.
Hipgnosis is owned by veteran music executive Merck Mercuriadis, a former manager of Elton John, Guns N’ Roses and Beyoncé.
According to Forbes, Blackstone have “launched a $1 billion partnership that gives the powerhouse private equity firm an ownership stake in the London-based adviser.”
Mercuriadis co-founded Hipgnosis in 2018 and has already acquired major music catalogues from artists including Neil Young, Shakira, Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna herself.
And The Blackstone-Hipgnosis partnership is part of a distinct new PE trend.
Forbes again: “The business of music rights has heated up during the past year. Among moves, Apollo Global Management …is investing up to $1 billion in new music rights firm HarbourView, and KKR …is in negotiations to buy a $1 billion catalogue from Kobalt Capital.”
“High-profile catalogue sales including that of the Bob Dylan catalogue to Universal Music Publishing for nearly $400 million and Stevie Nicks’ $100 million catalogue sale to Primary Wave are helping drive interest,” says the prestigious business magazine.
But, given the historical volatility and unpredictability of the music industry, why display such swashbuckling confidence in its financial future?
The answer is simple. Spotify’s transformation of music streaming and music streaming revenues. The global market was already $16.9 billion in 2021 (Source: Statista). And is tipped to grow exponentially.
As S&P Global Market Intelligence notes, “The robust growth of digital streaming subscriptions has led to strong music royalty payments, creating an attractive investment opportunity for private equity firms. Music streaming, which grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, can provide stable royalty revenue and a recurring cash flow.”
Stable royalty revenues? Recurring cashflow? PE firms are taking Rihanna’s advice and investing in a fiscal umbrella.