Just when you thought the sale of back catalogues had gone cold, in comes one of the biggest such deals seen for some time. The exact terms of Justin Bieber’s sale haven’t been fully disclosed but having been thrashed out by the singer’s longtime manager Scooter Braun, is believed to stand in the region of $200 million (£161 million).
The deal will give HSC full copyright of all publishing copyrights and master recordings for Bieber’s back catalogue released before 31 December 2021, which amounts to around 290 titles and includes major hits ‘Sorry’, ‘Love Yourself’ and ‘Baby’ – the latter of which he released when he was just a baby-faced 15-year-old.
Back catalogue sales saw a boom in around 2021, with the likes of Bob Dylan, Tina Turner and Bruce Springsteen all selling theirs; as evident in these examples, however, they’ve typically been for the reserve of legacy artists.
Just this week, Robby Krieger and the estate of the late Ray Manzarek announced a deal to sell the publishing catalogue of The Doors to Primary Wave Music.
Bieber’s deal, however, shows the appetite is certainly there for the buying-up of catalogues of more contemporary acts, following in the footsteps of another Justin – Timberlake – selling his entire catalogue last summer, also to Hipgnosis.
More recently, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea sold hers to Domain Capital for a reported eight-figure deal. Other more modern acts to cash in include Colombian superstar Shakira and Atlanta rapper Future.
Catalogue sales had cooled slightly from previous multi-billion dollar sums seen accumulatively around two years ago, owing largely to higher interest rates making it more expensive to finance such deals. Bieber’s deal flies in the face of that.