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Hipgnosis, Holder Of Select Tracks From Artists Like 50 Cent And Eric Bellinger, Has Been Sold To Blackstone For $1.6B

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...

Jul 10, 2024

Mike Will Made-It Started Out Making Beats With His Dad, A Former IBM Computer Engineer — Now, In The Last 2 Years, He Says Music Has Earned Him About $40M Alone

Mike Will Made-It has revealed that he did not understand how to make money from music when he first entered the industry. The producer, born Michael Len Williams II, behind some of this generation’s top hits, fell into music by playing on a keyboard owned by his sister, Chonte. He created beats with his father, former IBM computer engineer Michael Len Williams Sr., Forbes reported. He later learned to play the saxophone, and by his early teens, his father bought him a $600 Korg Electribe drum machine. “Inquisitive kid,” Michael Sr. said of his son, per Forbes. “He wanted to know everything.” After one semester at Georgia State, he convinced his father he could put school on the back burner to pursue a career in the music business as a producer. Mike Will Made-It recalls having no footing in his early days in Atlanta’s underground. He also had no management at the time, even during a breakout time for him thanks to producing singles including “Bandz a Make Her Dance” by Juicy J, “No...

Jul 10, 2024

Lucky Daye Reflects On Running Out Of Money And Struggling As An Artist — 'That Was My Lowest Point'

Lucky Daye hit rock bottom before finding fame. According to Vice, the New Orleans, LA, native, who lived through Hurricane Katrina, uprooted his life to live in Tyler, TX. In his earlier years, he attended a church that discouraged secular music and enforced strict rules on singing only church hymns and nursery rhymes. Daye also mentioned that the church was an environment that reportedly used harsh discipline toward children in the congregation. His mother would later leave the church and brought his family into various organizations in search of a new church home. Daye would later choose Christianity through new eyes, which separated him further from his family before the 400-mile trip to Tyler. “I went [to church] and said, ‘I know I’m supposed to sing, but God is telling me that this is not what I’m supposed to be doing,'” he explained. I left and never went back to [that] church. They never talked to me again. My grandma, my mama, my uncle—none of them. Nobody talked to me....

Jul 3, 2024

Fantasia Barrino Was Once Served For Owing $1M In Taxes — 'They Said My House Was Going To Be Put Up For Auction'

Fantasia Barrino had to answer to Uncle Sam and almost lost her home in the process. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the singer had vocalized her financial troubles that followed her “America Idol” win in 2004. She was sued by her father two years later and had difficulties with money management and understanding contracts. “It wasn’t easy,” she told PEOPLE. “I lost a lot. I lost everything.” Barrino’s circumstances almost even cost her the mansion she had been living in with her family in North Carolina, according to Forbes. She was served by the court for the first time due to owing $1 million in taxes, and her home could have been put up for auction as a result. “I had a bunch of people on my team who said ‘hey we’re handling all the business,'” she shared during ForbesBLK Summit 2024. “I look up and I owe a million dollars in taxes. So, because of that my lawyer didn’t show up to court, and then they put my house up for auction.” She continued, “I get a knock at the door, and...

Jul 3, 2024

37-Year-Old Hit-Boy Thanks Jay-Z For Helping Him Get An End Date For The ‘Worst Publishing Contract,’ Which He’s Had Since Age 19

Jay-Z intervened to help Hit-Boy out of a music deal he signed when he was a 19. During an interview on “The Shop” podcast, Hit-Boy, born Chauncey Alexander Hollis Jr., reflects on an ongoing deal with Universal Music Group. When he first signed with the record label in 2007 a $50,000 check sounded like a must-have opportunity at the time, he says. He had come from a home where his father had lived in prison for most of his life and his teen mother was not financially stable. It was Hit-Boy’s upbringing that pushed him to set higher goals for himself. “I never really had the sh-t I wanted. I always had what I needed, you know what I mean? Something to eat, place to stay, but I wanted more for myself,” he explained on “The Shop.” “So, you know, just like, I took that opportunity and didn’t know, didn’t have the guidance, didn’t have those figures around me to tell me like, ‘Nah, they got you locked in this for a long time.'” The deal would be “the worst publishing contract” Hit-Boy’s...

Jul 2, 2024

Megan Thee Stallion Credits Beyoncé For Urging Her To Launch Her Own Tequila Brand And Explains How She's Being Put In A Position To Be Her Own Boss

A conversation with Beyoncé inspired Megan Thee Stallion’s latest business venture. Launching A Tequila Brand In April 2024, Megan Thee Stallion, the rapper born Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, announced plans to launch her own tequila brand during Adweek’s Social Media Week (SMW). She will be part of the $2.5 trillion spirits industry, which will reportedly reach $5.7 trillion by 2032, per Fortune Business Insights. During Adweek’s SMW, Megan Thee Stallion also revealed that she was working on bringing new music. “I create the things that I want to see. I don’t create things for other people to like them,” she said, per Essence. “I create the music I want to hear, I go and do my own thing and stay true to me.” In May 2024, the “Savage” rapper embarked on the Hot Girl Summer arena tour featuring GloRilla. During the tour’s visit to Chicago, IL, Megan Thee Stallion gave fans an exclusive first taste of her tequila brand, per a May 19 Instagram post. She has yet to reveal other details about...

Jul 1, 2024

GloRilla Reflects On Signing With Rapper And Executive Yo Gotti — 'I Feel Like That's One Of The Best Decisions I Made'

GloRilla has revealed one of her greatest decisions since making her presence known in the music world. The Memphis, TN-born artist, born Gloria Hallelujah Woods, is known for her 2022 single “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” produced by Hitkidd, as AFROTECH™ previously reported. The song sold more than 1 million records, reached the top spot on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, and climbed to No. 42 on the Billboard Hot 100, per Revolt. ”It didn’t take the song long to blow up. It blew up in like three days,” GloRilla said during an interview on “The Shop” podcast. “So, I was just traveling the world like two days after I dropped that song ‘cause all the labels were calling me everywhere. So yeah, my life changed, changed right after I dropped that song.” After that, GloRilla set out to prove she would not be a one-hit wonder through the release of “Tomorrow” and its remix with Cardi B; “Yeah Glo!”; “Wanna Be” with Megan Thee Stallion; and most recently “TGIF.” GloRilla credits her success to...

Jun 27, 2024

Universal Music Group Among Major Labels Suing AI Music Startups For Violating Copyright Laws

The battle between artificial intelligence (AI) software and the music industry continues in a new lawsuit against two AI music startups. Top record labels Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Records are accusing AI music creation programs Suno Inc. and Udio AI of “massive and ongoing infringement.” The lawsuit claims that the entities “copied sound recordings from the labels ‘en masse and ingested them into its AI model,’” a practice that the plaintiffs say violates copyright laws, Forbes reports. Moreover, Suno and Udio AI are accused of using artists’ songs to “train their AI services.” In the suit against Suno, the filings allege that if the company hadn’t “violated copyrights on such a large scale, Suno’s service would not be able to reproduce the convincing imitations of such a vast range of human musical expression at the quality that Suno touts.” Similarly, the accusations against Udio AI hold some of the same weight, noting that “since the day...

Jun 25, 2024

GloRilla Credits Rap-Artist-Turned-Music-Executive Yo Gotti For Her Decision To Hire An Accountant

GloRilla had to take control of her spending after her first hit single took off. In 2022, the Memphis, TN-born artist, born Gloria Hallelujah Woods, found success with the release of her single “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” produced by Hitkidd. ”It didn’t take the song long to blow up. It blew up in like three days,” she said during an interview on “The Shop” podcast. “So, I was just traveling the world like two days after I dropped that song ‘cause all the labels were calling me everywhere. So yeah, my life changed, changed right after I dropped that song.” Her newfound fame came with some learning curves, such as keeping her spending habits in check. During the interview, she notes that she shifted her mindset with spending when rap-artist-turned-music-executive Yo Gotti intervened and suggested she hire an accountant. “My first year I blew up, this was before I got an accountant. I was just spending money, and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m getting it. I’m making it but I’m spending it too,'” she...

Jun 24, 2024

When Trina First Signed To Atlantic Records, She Gave Her First Check To Her Mother To Invest In Real Estate

Trina gave her first check from Atlantic Records to her mother. The rapper, born Katrina Laverne Taylor, signed to the label in the late ‘ 9 0s after making her first appearance on Trick Daddy’s song “Nann N–ga” in 1998. Trina was able to launch her music career as her presence on the track caught the attention of Ted Lucas, the founder of Slip-N-Slide Records to which Trick Daddy had been signed. “This is what they want to do. This is the deal. They going to merge with Slip-N-Slide. This is the deal coming through this Trick and Trina record… and it was a great deal, and we just I did it and immediately this was in ’98,” Trina said during an interview on the “R&B Money Podcast” hosted by Tank and J Valentine. Despite receiving her first check, Trina was more focused on finishing her debut album than making a major purchase. So, she gave it to her mother who used the check to invest in real estate. “I gave the check to my mom actually and… I had introduced my mom into like buying...

Jun 24, 2024

After Acquiring Wu-Tang Clan's Rare Album For $4M, NFT Collective PleasrDAO Is Selling Access To It For $1

Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” could have an earlier release date thanks to non-fungible token (NFT) collective PleasrDAO. In 2015, the legendary Hip-Hop group auctioned off only one physical copy of their seventh studio album, and former “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli reportedly bought it for $2 million, according to The New York Times. PleasrDAO then acquired the album for $4 million in 2021 from the U.S. government after Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud. Previously, Wu-Tang Clan’s sales contract with Shkreli stated that “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” was prohibited from being publicly released until Oct. 8, 2103, which was 88 years into the future. However, the album isn’t as inaccessible now. The New York Times reports that on June 13, PleasrDAO started giving listeners access to a five-minute sampler of an encrypted digital version, an NFT, for $1 in addition to fees. The collective stated it was part of an experiment and posed the question: “Do people still...

Jun 18, 2024

Yo Gotti Didn't Know He Had To Pay Property Taxes On Houses He Paid Cash For — 'They Didn't Teach Me That In School'

Yo Gotti did not pay his property taxes for years due to a lack of information. During an interview with podcast “Earn Your Leisure,” the rapper revealed he was unaware he had to pay back taxes to the government. He viewed taxes as a celebration as he recalled the gifts he would receive from his mother around tax season. He didn’t know these gifts were likely coming because she had received a tax refund. “I grew up thinking, when you heard of taxes, my mama and ’em got tax money. That’s when we got new Jordans. We got new outfits… It was a celebration when it was tax time,” he said. “We was waiting on tax time. It was better than Christmas. So, I didn’t know… even in my early stages of getting money, I didn’t know we had to pay. I didn’t know because of a lack of information; they didn’t teach me that in school.” Lack of financial literacy carried over into how Yo Gotti did business too. As an investor in real estate early on, he purchased 10 to 15 homes with cash. However, he...

Jun 12, 2024

Rick Ross To Auction Off Rare Items, Proceeds Set To Support Business Owners

Rick Ross is auctioning off items for a good cause. According to Billboard, the rapper is teaming up with Julien’s Auctions to host Push It to the Limit: Luxury and Lifestyle, a two-day event held June 25-26 live and online with 800 items up for grabs. People mentions items such as Ross’ exclusive collection of street and contemporary art, designer wear, rare sneakers, and music memorabilia like Michael Jackson’s sealed “ONE” by Cirque du Soleil light-up glove , and more. Specific items include the Air Jordan Retro 5 “University of Michigan Fab 5” PEs (estimated value, $2,000-$3,000); Air Maxes (est. $1,000-$2,000); DJ Khaled “Father of Asahd” Air Jordans (est. $3,000-$5,000) and Virgil Abloh Off-White collaborations (est. $500-$700); Versace silk shirts (est. $500-$700); and designer sunglasses and varsity jackets (est. $200-$500); among others, per Billboard. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Julien's Auctions (@juliens_auctions) What’s more, in partnership with The...

Jun 11, 2024

Will Smith Says He Was 'Broke-Broke' After Not Paying Taxes For 2 Years — 'I Sold Everything In Philly'

Will Smith learned a tough financial lesson early on in his career. During an episode of the podcast, “7PM in Brooklyn with Carmelo Anthony & Kid Mero,” Smith reflected on a peak moment in his career in 1988. Smith had won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance with DJ Jazzy Jeff for their single “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” Pop Sugar reports. Their win was even more significant because it was also the year that the Best Rap Performance category was introduced. However, that career highlight also came during a time when Smith ran into trouble for neglecting to pay his taxes. “I was like, you know the IRS gets money from everybody, they don’t like need mine, but they felt differently,” Will said on the podcast. “So, I didn’t pay taxes for the two years and won a Grammy and all that. So, they just thought they should take my stuff. So, I was a little down, and I went out to L.A. I sold everything in [Philadelphia, PA], like I was, like, broke-broke sold everything in Philly.” According...

Jun 10, 2024

Ray J Reveals Shaquille O’Neal Invested $1.5M In His Music Career

Shaquille O’Neal once invested in Ray J’s music career. During an interview on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast “Club Shay Shay,” the R&B singer-turned-entrepreneur reveals he received $1.5 million from the former Los Angeles Lakers basketball player to support “Sexy Can I,” the first single from his 2008 studio album “All I Feel.” The single featuring Yung Berg would go on to become a top 10 hit on Billboard. O’Neal saw a big return on that investment , Ray J says on the podcast. “He gave us $1.5 [million] for the ‘Sexy Can I’ project, which was the ‘All I Feel’ project, and ‘Sexy Can I’ was the record to lead off. It sold 8 million copies,” Ray J told Sharpe. “We recouped the number back for Shaq, and I don’t know five months, six months, and everything else has been profitable ever since, so shout out to Shaq.” He added, “If you look at the ‘Sexy Can I’ video, you see Shaq in the video. He’s the one with the camera.” Photo Credit: YouTube/ MNRK Music Group O’Neal has distinguished...

Jun 10, 2024