Metallica and Michael Buble Producer Bob Rock Sells to Hipgnosis - Rolling Stone
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Bob Rock, Metallica and Michael Bublé Producer, Sells Rights to Hipgnosis

The producer joins Jimmy Iovine, Lindsey Buckingham, Shakira, and Neil Young in the group of music creators who have sold copyrights to Merck Mercuriadis’s investment and song management company

23 August 2019, Bavaria, Munich: James Hetfield, front singer of the US metal band Metallica, stands on stage in the Olympic Stadium. The band performs as part of their "World-Wired-Tour". Photo by: Sven Hoppe/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images23 August 2019, Bavaria, Munich: James Hetfield, front singer of the US metal band Metallica, stands on stage in the Olympic Stadium. The band performs as part of their "World-Wired-Tour". Photo by: Sven Hoppe/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Sven Hoppe/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

Producer Bob Rock has sold his production rights on Metallica’s eponymous album and several Michael Bublé projects to song investment company Hipgnosis Songs Fund, the company announced Thursday — the latest in a flurry of catalog acquisitions Merck Mercuriadis’s company has closed this month.

Mercuriadis bought the production rights for an undisclosed sum, giving him the rights to 43 songs that includes major Metallica hits “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters” along with the entirety of Bublé’s platinum-selling album To Be Loved.

“I put my heart and soul into these recordings,” Rock said in a statement. “I know how much Merck loves music, so it was an easy deal to put together.”

Rock joins a group of artists and producers that includes Jimmy Iovine, Lindsey Buckingham, Shakira and Neil Young who have sold to Mercuriadis in January 2021 alone. Last year, Hipgnosis bought catalogs from musicians including Richie Sambora, Mark Ronson and Rom DeLonge. And outside of Hipgnosis, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan and Ryan Tedder have also sold their publishing catalogs to music companies and investment groups for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Since 2018, in a trend kickstarted by song buyers like Mercuriadis, songwriters and producers have been selling off their copyrights to take an immediate cashout rather than bet on their catalog’s potential earnings. The buyers take on that risk, with the plan of bolstering royalty streams through sync licensing opportunities in TV and film appearances, merchandising, and other revenue opportunities. Buyers aren’t going after just publishing rights: BMG bought out Mick Fleetwood’s recorded music rights last week, noting that it expects recorded music rights —which are tied more to streaming income — to be a more lucrative option in the future.

Several insiders have said they expect these deals to slow down as capital gains taxes potentially increase under the Biden administration, making selling catalog sales less lucrative. But the market hasn’t slowed yet.

“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,” Mercuriadis said in a statement. “Everyone who has worked with Bob knows he is a difference maker, which is why the artists he has produced end up making multiple albums with him which are almost always their biggest successes. Bob is very special and as a fellow Canadian, it is a pleasure to welcome him and his incredible productions to the Hipgnosis family.”

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