The music catalog company holding the hits of artists like 50 Cent, Eric Bellinger, John Coltrane, and a host of others has officially been sold.

Hipgnosis, which is described as having “a collection of proven hit Songs of cultural importance by some of the most talented and important Songwriters globally,” per its website, has sold its assets to Blackstone for $1.6 billion. Additionally, its leader, Merck Mercuriadis, who was once responsible for managing Beyoncé, has also stepped down from the company, The New York Times reports.

The Hipgnosis Songs Fund is an “investment trust” currently listed on the London Stock Exchange in the U.K. and owns the rights of “tens of thousands of songs,” per the outlet. During a meeting on Monday, July 8, 2024, a board for the company voted to accept an offer from Blackstone, worth $1.6 billion, to purchase its assets. Already, Blackstone had taken majority control of the company’s “investment adviser” side of the business through a $1 billion investment in 2021.  

At the time of its inception in 2018, Hipgnosis was off to a promising future as it went on a spending spree to purchase the song rights to a plethora of artists’ music now included in its catalog. Its selling point was telling investors that “royalties from pop songs could be more valuable than gold or oil.”

For Mercuriadis, it was always about attacking the corporate conglomerates that currently dominate the industry. He argued that they owned too much content and thus weren’t able to manage it in the best way.

“People look at songs as being inanimate objects; I don’t,” Mercuriadis said during an interview with The New York Times in 2020. “I think that they’re the great energy that makes the world go ’round, and I think that they deserve to be managed with the same level of responsibility that human beings do.”

After the Hipnosis Songs Fund’s share price dropped in 2023, investors became displeased with the company’s share value, which dropped well below the value of its assets. The change in status was followed by shareholders’ vote against maintaining the company’s structure, resulting in a huge shift. 

According to a harsh review led by a new financial adviser, the Hipnosis Songs Fund’s value was reduced by 26%. It was also discovered that Hipgnosis Song Management not only overpaid for most of its catalog but also overstated the fund’s revenue and earnings.

Now with Mercuriadis’ departure and the new acquisition by Blackstone, the former leader says he will now “spend more time advocating on behalf of songwriters to ensure that they are properly compensated for their work.”