The producer of songs by Metallica and Michael Bublé has sold his rights to investors in the latest in a flurry of back-catalogue sales by artists and other rights owners looking to cash in on the music streaming boom.
Bob Rock has sold his producer’s rights in heavy metal band Metallica’s eponymous album and songs by Canadian singer Michael Bublé that include Call Me Irresponsible, Crazy Love, and Christmas.
The deal, for an undisclosed amount, gives investment firm Hipgnosis Songs Fund rights to 43 songs.
The buyer is among a small number of companies snapping up the rights to classic tracks. The advent of music streaming and easily edited social media videos has reinvigorated listener numbers for some classics, and the revenues attached to them. For instance, Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams returned to the charts last autumn 43 years after it was first released after a video of a skateboarder lip-syncing the lyrics went viral.
Hipgnosis was founded in 2018 by Merck Mercuriadis, who has previously managed artists including Elton John, Guns N’ Roses and Beyoncé. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange that year, raising more than £1bn, and has since bought rights to songs from artists including Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart and Barry Manilow. It became a member of the mid-cap FTSE 250 investment index in March 2020.
Hipgnosis has this year already announced deals with Shakira and Neil Young, while competitor BMG bought rights from Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac.
Rock said: “I put my heart and soul into these recordings. I know how much Merck loves music, so it was an easy deal to put together.”
Mercuriadis said: “The breadth of Bob Rock’s enormous successes are almost impossible to match by any creator in the history of music. From Metallica’s most famous Black Album to Michael Bublé’s Christmas, he has produced some of the biggest albums of all time that continue to be evergreen, year in and year out.”