Not a deal (only) for old people, it seems. While everyone is keeping an eye on the Pink Floyd dossier that could turn into the largest sale of musical assets in history, things happen on the side of selling the rights to the songs. The last, in chronological order, concerns Justin Timberlake, an American pop star who, in the last 20 years, has entertained audiences around the world with hits such as What Goes Around … Comes Around And Cry Me A River: for a sum of around 100 million dollars, he sold his music catalog to the Hipgnosis fund, a company of Merck Mercuriadis, partner of the private equity group Blackstone.
Everything suggests that we could continue to see some good ones, for who knows how long. Blackstone entered into business with Hipgnosis in October with an initial investment of $ 1 billion to launch a private ‘vehicle’, Hipgnosis Songs Capital to purchase music catalogs, separately from the City-listed UK fund Hipgnosis Songs, which has bought over two billion dollars in music rights so far.
Even a 41-year-old in the “big old” club
Timberlake, who movie fans will remember as Napster co-founder Sean Parker in the movie about the birth of Facebook The Social Network (2010), said he was “excited” by the partnership: “I can’t wait to start this new chapter.” Also Hipgnosis, in January 2021, took over half of the rights to Neil Young’s songs. But while Mr. Young is well over 76 years of age, Timberlake is just 41. Until now, it has been said that selling a catalog helps the succession: between the assets of a will, money is much easier to divide. This is not a trivial detail, if we consider that the deaths of the great musicians are often followed by causes between the heirs. And Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon thought just that.
Better “few, cursed and immediately”
It seems evident that this cannot be the case with Justin Timberlake. The singer born in Memphis, more likely, will have wanted to protect himself from the imponderable dynamics of a recording market that had never been as volatile as it is in the streaming era. Today the majors are quoted for staggering figures, but the memory of the dark years of the Napster crisis is still alive. In the United States, then, in this particular historical moment also at a fiscal level it is better to have a large amount to re-invest than an asset whose margins will all be verified in the medium to long term. Lastly, the evil ones do not rule out that Timberlake’s acceleration on the dossier is due to the fear that the “bubble” will deflate. Better a few, cursed and immediately, in short, than the risk of taking even less the day after tomorrow. And then 100 million dollars is not even that short.