Shakira is the latest singer to sell her entire music catalog for millions of dollars. Her 145 songs including hits like Hips Don’t Lie, Beautiful Liar, Loca, and She Wolf are counted in the catalog.
Being one of the greatest Latin musicians of all time, this announcement took fans by surprise.
Since releasing her first album in 1991 at the age of 13, Shakira has sold 80 million records by winning various awards including a Grammy and a Latin Grammy.
Compared to other musicians, Shakira is still quite active in releasing songs. Last year, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed together at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The appearance of these two stars became the most-watched appearance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Shakira’s music catalog was sold to the Hypnosis Music Fund, a company that manages intellectual property founded by Merck Mercuriadis and musician Nile Rodgers. Previously, Hypgnosis acquired the Neil Young and Blondie catalog.
Although they did not disclose the total amount given, they stated the price was equivalent to 15 years of royalties. Hipgnosis also hopes that they will benefit from acquiring music from film or television as well as performance royalties.
In 2020, Many Musicians Sell Their Music Catalog
Previously, there was musician legend Bob Dylan who sold all of his music rights to Universal Music Publishing after leaving the Sony Music label in December 2020. Having a career of 60 years, Bob Dylan has 600 songs that sold as much as 300 million US dollars.
During 2020, several musicians sold their music catalogs to Hipgnosis. Among them, Tom DeLonge Blink 182, Barry Manilow, LA Reid, Neil Young, and 42 catalogs from the Kobalt Music Group.
According to a January 2021 report, Hipgnosis claims to have 57 thousand music catalogs.
Why do musicians roll out to sell their music catalogs? Financial security is the most obvious reason. Royalties that don’t always earn make musicians think it’s better to get a lump sum upfront.
According to the BBC, Hipgnosis calls itself a song management company, not just a traditional publisher exploiting rights. They are committed to managing the music catalog carefully.
For example, when buying Neil Young’s catalog, Hipgnosis made sure that the song Heart of Gold was not used carelessly.
Hypgnosis is not the only player in this industry. There are many companies that oversee this kind of business, namely KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) and Primary Wave. Most companies acquire catalogs of past musicians.
Another advantage of selling catalogs is that when a musician dies, their treasure, this music catalog, is not a problem among the musician’s family.
Taylor Swift is one of the musicians who ‘introduced’ the public to the music catalog. In 2019, Swift wrote about the actions of Scooter Braun and its previous label, Big Machine, which sold all of its master albums to private investment companies without his consent.
The incident made Swift threatened that she could not perform a medley of her song at the American Music Awards which crowned her as Artist of the Decade. After neutralizing the matter, an agreement was made between Swift and Big Machine so that Swift could appear to perform her old songs.
Currently, Swift is re-recording her first six albums with new versions. One of the tracks, Love Story was played exclusively through a commercial starring Ryan Reynolds.
One of the phenomenal arguments related to this issue is Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. They were once friends after collaborating on the songs The Girl is Mine and Say Say Say.
But an incident made the friendship crack. An ATV publishing company sold all assets including 4,000 songs of which there were 251 Beatles songs. Attorney John Branca asked Yoko Ono and McCartney if they were interested in buying because Jackson was also interested.
At that time, Yoko Ono did not mind if Jackson wanted to buy it and McCartney joined the auction. The auction process was carried out and Jackson became the biggest bidder. Upon learning of this, McCartney felt betrayed that his friend was taking advantage of the work he had written wholeheartedly.
In 2017, McCartney sued Sony Corp and was about to claim 267 Beatles songs that Michael Jackson bought 20 years before his death.
In the end, the musician owns the rights to his work. If they want to sell music catalogs later, they have to understand the consequences of using those works.