Justin Bieber sells rights to back catalogue for reported $200 million

Justin Bieber press shot, 2022
Bieber follows in the footsteps of Shakira and Justin Timberlake in selling his catalogue. (Photo: Press)

Justin Bieber has sold his stake in his back catalogue for a reported $200 million.

The Canadian star has become the latest in an increasingly long list of music megastars to take a lump sum in exchange for future royalties generated by their body of work. The British-registered Hipgnosis Songs Capital has snapped up Bieber’s 290-song catalogue, marking its biggest-ever acquisition; the group was co-founded by Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers in 2018.

The deal covers all of of Bieber’s music released prior to 31 December 2021, as well as his writer’s share. Despite previous reports that his master recordings would be retained by Universal, it is now reported by the BBC that they were also acquired by Hipgnosis.

The move by Bieber suggests the continuation of a trend of younger artists following in the footsteps of their older forebears in selling off the rights to their work wholesale. Over the past couple of years, legacy artists like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon have sold their catalogues to Sony for reported nine-figure sums, while Neil Young did likewise in a deal for 50% of his stake in his work with Hipgnosis.

Those agreements initially appeared to be the preserve of industry veterans, until the likes of Shakira, Justin Timberlake and now Bieber followed suit. Merck Mercuriadis, the music manager who founded Hipgnosis, has previously discussed the new model for rights sales in an interview with the BBC, telling them that he believes songs can be “more valuable than gold or oil.”

“The impact of Justin Bieber on global culture over the last 14 years has truly been remarkable,” said Mercuriadis in a statement, as he announced the acquisition. The sale to Hipgnosis provides a major financial boost for Bieber at a time when his ability to tour has been hampered by ongoing health problems. He curtailed his Justice world tour last September as he continues to battle Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which causes partial paralysis of the face. He had been due to embark upon the European leg this month, with a total of 11 UK dates set for February having been pulled.