Hipgnosis Songs has acquired the music royalty catalog of songwriter-producer No I.D. (Ernest “Dion” Wilson), best known for his work with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, Usher, Common Drake, Alica Keys, Ed Sheeran, Big Sean and Common, the company announced early Thursday. Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of the artist’s worldwide copyrights and publishing royalties, including writer’s share of income in the catalog, which comprises 273 songs.
That catalog includes such hits as “Run This Town” by Jay-Z featuring Kanye West and Rihanna, “Holy Grail” by Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.,” Drake’s “Find Your Love,” West’s “Black Skinhead,” “Bound 2,” “Dark Fantasy,” “Gorgeous,” “So Appalled” and “Heartless,” and Sheeran’s “Kiss Me.”
Hipgnosis Songs Founder Merck Mercuriadis said: “The words NO I.D. are a stamp of excellence on any album. From Kanye West’s ‘808s & Heartbreak’, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ and ‘Yeezus’ to Jay-Z’s astonishing run from ‘American Gangster’ through ‘The Blueprint 3’, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ and ‘4:44’, Dion has been in the middle of everything that is great about Hip Hop for more than two decades. He is a special creator and everyone in the Hipgnosis Family is proud to have him standing next to us.”
No I.D. said:“Not many have the best intentions for the artist and the creators. Merck and the Hipgnosis team have shown that they are a safe home for the songs that score our lives.”
Hipgnosis Songs recently released its annual report, which showed its revenues soaring in its first full year of business, climbing to $81 million in the 12 month period ended in March 2020 from around $8.9 million in the preceding period. The firm, which has been on an unprecedented acquisition binge of hit songwriter and producer catalogs — been buying up catalogs by hitmakers ranging from Timbaland and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart to Jack Antonoff and Jeff Bhasker — began trading on the London Stock Exchange in July of 2018. Between March 2019 and March 2020, the company spent nearly $700 million to acquire 42 catalogs.
In the report, Mercuriadis notes, “When compared with the three major song companies, we have achieved between 7% and 12.5% of their revenue on between 0.5% and 0.9% of their number of songs.” This is a result of the group’s highly selective investments, which he summarizes in the report thus: “All of our songs have a proven track record and we do not speculate on new songs regardless of the past performance of the songwriter, producer or artist. These proven hit Songs produce reliable, predictable and uncorrelated cash flows which are highly investible.”