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December 2, 2020

Music Publishers are Thriving Despite the Pandemic

Despite Covid-19 causing declines and slumps in some markets, the music industry is holding steady as many listeners are tuning in to relieve the stress during these hard times.

Music publishers are moving the same way. Many big acquisitions, mergers, and developments from indie music publishers have been making waves across the scene. 

While these music publishing actors have seen some growth stall or decrease, as of late many of these acquisitions have changed the industry. We’re here to help make sense of some of the largest pushes the industry has seen as of late.

Downtown On the Rise in the music publishing industry

Downtown Music Holdings is one of the most exciting actors in the industry. Downtown have collected over 300,000 songwriters and producers. In 2018 they retained the rights for Madonna, One Direction, and Sam Smith by acquiring Salli Isaak Music and Salli Isaak Songs. In 2019, their songwriters amounted to 18 Grammy Awards for multiple No.1 hit singles from the likes of Lady Gaga and other artists. In 2019, Downtown bought CD Baby--a similar royalty collection platform like their Songtrust platform--for $200 million by acquiring AVL Digital. This bolstered their client base of over 950,000 artists, making one of the largest online distributor connections in independent music.

Downtown has been growing quick with these acquisitions, but there are rumors of them focusing on expanding or a possible offer of selling options. They are currently in talks with The Raine Group, a banking advising, and investing firm. If The Raine Group would advise or remit funds to Downtown, they could grow dramatically enough to face up against the major publishers like Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group.

Calvin Harris and Vine Alternative Investments music publishing deals

These two names are opposites; most people are familiar with Calvin Harris, one of the biggest names in the music industry. He’s an award-winning music producer, songwriter, and DJ who has multi-platinum songs with collaborations with some of the biggest names in the industry like DJ Khalid, Pharrell Williams, and Travis Scott.

Vine Alternative Investments is a little known, but major investor that has invested over 1.4 billion dollars into the entertainment and media industry. 

On October 22, 2020, Vine acquired the entire song catalog of Calvin Harris for an undisclosed fee, accounting for more than 150 songs. With one of the biggest names in the industry, Vine has secured a firm hold grasp making it one of the most interesting investing firms to watch out for in the coming years.

Hipgnosis Making Big Leaps in music industry

A heavy-weight in the industry, Hipgnosis has been on the rise. The song fund co-founded by Merck Mercuriadis and Nile Rodgers in 2018 focused on securing rights for some of the biggest hit songs in the world. By the end of the same year it was founded, Hipgnosis oversaw near 1,000 hit songs making #1 hit lists throughout the world. The company is valued far over 1.3 billion dollars in share prices alone.

In 2018, it acquired the expansive Poo Bear catalog which included songs from Justin Bieber and Juis Fonsi, and it also purchased shares into Chic to secure Bernard Edward’s and TMS’s catalogs which include songs from Chic and Mariah Carey.

In 2019, Hipgnosis acquired the rights to five albums in Timberland’s catalog and Missy Elliot’s six albums. In 2020, they secured most of Mark Ronson, Blink-182 Tom DeLonge’s publishing rights, Jerkins, RedOne, and Barry Manilow’s catalogs. 

The most recent acquisition of L.A. Reid who has written and produced music for some of the biggest names in the music industry to bolster their catalog with hits from Boyz 2 Men, Bobby Brown, TLC, and Whitney Houston. 

L.A. Reid was also appointed to Hipgnosis’ advisory board to help steer the song fund in the best direction possible. With this much drive and wisdom backing them up, Hipgnosis is sure to make big acquisitions in the future.

Kobalt Might Sell: changes ahead for music publishing actors

One of the biggest independent rights management and publishing companies in the UK, second in North America, Kobalt is one of the whales in the independent music scene. Kobalt oversees many popular artists the likes of David Guetta, Beck, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, Tiesto, 50 Cent, Foo Fighters, and hundreds more. Kobalt has secured over 600,000 songs.

Rumors are floating around that Kobalt is exploring options which include selling the company. If sold, the asking price could be above 1 billion dollars based on a yearly revenue of an excess of 500 million dollars a year. However, these same rumors state that Kobalt might be looking to expand, the same as Downtown Music Holdings. If this expansion is successful, it would be a forthcoming rival to the major music publishers in no time.

A Bright Future for music publishers

With all that’s going on in the world today, the publishing industry still thrives and plans are being laid as we speak. It’s a great time for the music industry to innovate and grow with mass acquisitions, mergers, and sales.

This is something Reprtoir has seen rising up. And this trend is only getting bigger, this is why we built an online workspace for all music publishers and record companies to manage music catalogs, musical works, royalties and private playlists. Book a call with us and discover how we can help you optimize your internal processes!


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