Blondie Co-Founders and Barry Manilow Sell Their Catalogs to Hipgnosis - Rolling Stone
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Blondie Co-Founders and Barry Manilow Sell Their Catalogs to Hipgnosis

The manager-turned-investor previously secured deals with artists like Richie Sambora and Mark Ronson

Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Barry Manilow

From left: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images; Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

Merck Mercuriadis’s big year doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet. The manager-turned-music investor’s IP acquisition group Hipgnosis Songs Fund bought two more notable catalogs, it announced Wednesday — this time from Blondie co-founders Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, securing both their writers’ shares and neighboring rights for their entire catalogs. This comes just days after Hipgnosis also announced the acquisition of the recording royalties for Barry Manilow’s 917-song catalog.

With the Blondie and Manilow acquisitions, Hipgnosis gains access to hits like Blondie’s “Rip Her to Shreds,” “X Offender” and “Rapture,” and Manilow’s “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

“Their singles have been not only massively successful but era and genre defining,” Mercuriadis says of Harry and Stein’s work, in a statement. “No one should ever go anywhere without Blondie, Plastic Letters, Parallel Lines, my favourite Eat To The Beat or Autoamerican with them at all times. I am delighted to welcome Debbie, Chris and Allen to the Hipgnosis Family and look forward to working with them for years to come.”

Of the Manilow deal, Mercuriadis called the singer “an international treasure” and said Manilow “is one of those rare artists that unites everyone.”

Mercuriadis and Hipgnosis have spent over $1 billion in song acquisitions since 2018, picking up catalogs from artists, songwriters and producers and amassing a collection of hits from the likes of Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, star producer Mark Ronson and Blink-182 co-founder Tom Delonge, among several others. According to Hipgnosis’s annual 2020 report released on July 3rd, 1,810 of Hipgnosis’s acquired songs have earned Number One Distinctions on global charts, and over 7,000 have been top-10 hits. One of Mercuriadis’s longer-term goals with his song collection is to leverage his many hits for other opportunities like tv, video game and movie features.

While several music companies have slowed down or struggled through the ongoing crisis, Mercuradis previously told Rolling Stone that since the pandemic began, he’d been getting more interest from artists looking to make deals than ever before.

“I can say I’ve never had more opportunities put in front of me,” Mercuriadis told Rolling Stone in April. “We’re always picky, we’ll say no to three of the four that are presented to us, we say yes to 100% of what we go after. I can’t be involved in music that I don’t believe in and don’t understand. It’s not about genre, it’s about are the songs and are these artists culturally important?”



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