Justin Bieber sells back catalogue for $200m at just 28 years old

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Justin Bieber has joined the growing list of pop stars selling their back catalogue after reaching a deal to sell his music rights for more than $200m.

London-listed company Hipgnosis is to take full control of the Canadian singer’s entire portfolio released before 2022, comprising 290 tracks. The deal includes the 28-year-old’s past hits Boyfriend, Love Yourself and What Do You Mean?

The deal for Justin Bieber’s catalogue was brokered in part by Scooter Braun, the singer’s manager for 15 years.

Mr Braun was embroiled in a bitter dispute with Taylor Swift after he took control of the rights to her first six studio albums, prompting the Anti-Hero singer to re-record more than 100 songs.

Justin Bieber is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with estimated sales of over 150m records worldwide and more than 32bn streams on Spotify alone.

All six of his official studio albums have been certified platinum or multi-platinum, while three singles – Baby, Sorry and Despacito – earned diamond status in the US for more than 10m sales.

In recent years artists have rushed to sell their music portfolios, as investors increasingly look to streaming revenue as an alternative source of income. Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are among the raft of other performers to have brokered deals in recent years.

The Bieber back catalogue acquisition was made by Hipgnosis’s Blackstone-backed songs fund and is one of the group’s largest ever transactions.

Merck Mercuriadis, founder and chief executive of Hipgnosis Song Management, said: “The impact of Justin Bieber on global culture over the last 14 years has truly been remarkable. 

“At only 28 years of age, he is one of a handful of defining artists of the streaming era that has revitalised the entire music industry, taking a loyal and worldwide audience with him on a journey from teen phenomenon to culturally important artist.”

Hipgnosis listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2018 and has built up a portfolio of songs from artists including Neil Young and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in a bid to cash in on the streaming boom.

In May last year the company bought the song catalogue of Justin Timberlake in a deal worth a reported $100m, while it also snapped up the rights to Leonard Cohen’s portfolio of tracks.

However, more recently the business has come under scrutiny over its methodology for valuing songs, while it is also facing a squeeze from rising interest rates.

Hipgnosis’ market value has slumped to just over £1bn – less than half the £2.2bn valuation placed on its portfolio – prompting Mr Mercuriadis to complain that investors were failing to see the value in “iconic songs”. The Justin Bieber deal is Hipgnosis’s first acquisition in seven months. 

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