Hipgnosis Songs chief Merck Mercuriadis has spoken to Music Week about his £1 billion mission to revolutionise music publishing.
The A-list manager's music IP investment company has been on a spending spree since purchasing its first music catalogue from Terius Youngdell Nash, aka The Dream, last year and recently raised a further £141.5 million from investors, bringing its total to almost £350m since its IPO.
“I wanted to change where the songwriter sits in the economic equation," said Mercuriadis, speaking in the latest issue of Music Week. "The songwriter should be rewarded to a greater extent than they are and I believe that the only way to get to that place is to build a £1 billion to £3bn company that has the critical mass to help to bring that change into place."
Hipgnosis announced its latest acquisition this week with the purchase of a music catalogue from Havana co-writer Brittany Hazzard, aka Starrah, whose songs have achieved 94 No. 1 chart positions globally.
"I want to eradicate the word ‘publishing’ from our vernaculars because what should be happening is that every songwriter, artist or producer should have a song manager," said Mercuriadis. "‘Publisher’, to me, is a euphemism for someone that collects your money but doesn’t really add value to the song. I want our company to be a song management company. I want it to be the beginning of the song management revolution.”
'Publisher', to me, is a euphemism for someone that collects your money but doesn't really add value
Former Sanctuary Group CEO Mercuriadis, whose past clients include Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden and Morrissey, currently represents Chic legend Nile Rodgers, who is chairman of the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
"Three years ago we started working together and our discussions began with his career, but also with what we wanted to do with songs," explained Mercuriadis. "We felt that the songwriter being the low man on the totem pole had to change and we both wanted to do something about that."