In the latest gigantic catalogue sale, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have sold the rights to all their songs going back to 1982 to Hipgnosis, the company owned by Canadian Merck Mercuriadis. The band is the latest in a long line of older artists to cash out on a lifetime’s work, taking a whack of future royalties upfront in a big lump sum, setting them up with a worry-free future–at least when it comes to money.
There are apparently still some details to work out, but the reported price for the Chilis’ catalogue is US$140 million. It will now up be up to Hipgnosis to unlock the value in those songs to make their money back and then turn a profit.
How will they do that? Radio performance fees. Mechanical royalties from album sales. Encouraging other artists to record Chili Peppers song. TikTok campaigns. Licensing and sync for TV, movies, and commercials. Efforts to boost streaming of RHCP songs.
This land grab for songs shows no signs of abating and there seems to be plenty of money from not just Hipgnosis, but Primary Wave, Concord, Universal Music Publishing, and a handful of other catalogue buyers.
Who’s next? Let’s speculate wildly:
- Green Day
- Nine Inch Nails
- Elvis Costello
- Rolling Stones
- Ringo Starr