Rod Stewart cancels acquisition of Hipgnosis catalog – “Not the right company”

Photo credit: Ian Dury / CC from 3.0

Rod Stewart has called off talks to acquire a catalog of Hipgnosis songs after a lengthy negotiation process. Steward will now take his ball home and remain the owner of his catalog – or seek a higher bidder.

“This catalog represents my life’s work,” the 78-year-old singer said in his statement to DMN. “And after much time and careful consideration, it became absolutely clear that this was not the right company to manage my song catalog, my career, or my legacy.”

Founded in 2018, Hipgnosis soon started investing money in music IP. The company spent over $1 billion on acquisitions in fiscal 2021 alone and its portfolio of 65,000 songs was valued at $2.7 billion as of July 2022. Hipgnosis helped launch the Rod Stewart website last year, so that’s certainly an interesting development.

“Sorry, but we are subject to a non-disclosure agreement and cannot comment,” CEO Merck Mercuriadis told Digital Music News when asked for comment. Sir Rod Stewart’s catalog is filled with six decades of extremely successful studio albums. He has 10 UK #1 solo albums, the most recent being 2019 You’re in my heart.

Hipgnosis’ most notable song purchases include Justin Bieber, Lindsey Buckingham, Jimmy Iovine, Shakira, Justin Timberlake, Kenny Chesney, Tobias Jesso, and many others. After more than two years of negotiations, Rod Stewart did not make clear why he believes Hipgnosis is not the right choice for his catalogue, despite his unforgiving testimony suggesting a negative outcome.

It’s also unclear what the Hipgnosis deal would entail, specifically whether it would include all of Stewart’s intellectual property including publishing or recording resources, or the entire catalogue. It’s also possible that Rod Stewart is eyeing offers, or that Hipgnosis balked at the singer’s asking price. Either way, this deal is off the table on both sides after being forged for over two years.

Hipgnosis now co-owns at least 90 of the 356 songs in the Spotify Billions Club. 81 of these songs fall under the Hipgnosis Songs Fund and 17 under the Hipgnosis Songs Capital umbrella. Eight of these songs in the billion-club are partially owned by both companies.