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In this new panorama of streaming the greatest hit or repertoire song is suddenly revalued. PHOTOGRAPHY: Getty Images
Songs considered "greatest hits" are shown in a new light in the age of streaming. Photo: Getty Images

Shakira sells her entire music catalog to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund

What is the future of music that artists like Shakira, Taylor Swift or Bob Dylan are betting on? Hipgnosis continues to purchase music catalogs of great hits.

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Iconic Colombian singer Shakira finally joined a growing trend in the international music business.

On Wednesday, Jan. 13, she officially sold the music publishing rights to all 145 of her songs to the British firm, Hipgnosis Song Fund, for an amount that has not been confirmed but, is rumored to be several hundred million dollars. The agreement also allows Sony to continue to have control for the next seven years.

Hipgnosis was founded as a music investment company in 2018 by musician Nile Rodgers and agent Merck Mercuriadis, who has managed a repertoire of artists such as Beyoncé, Iron Maiden or Elton John. Through investments that have already reached $1 billion, the pair have more than 5,000 songs in their catalog.

Mercuriadis praised Shakira as a "queen of Latin music" and her successful work as a composer. The singer has expressed her confidence that "it will be a great home for my catalog" with the intention that her lifetime successes will continue to be well represented.

La Barranquillera was one of the last to join the bandwagon of this industry mutation that is expected to grow even more this year. A few days earlier, Ryan Tedder, lead singer of OneRepublic, sold the band's catalog for $200 million to KKR and Neil Young got rid of 50% of more than a thousand songs while retaining some decision-making power. The list goes on to include musical giants such as Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac, Blondie, and The Eurythmics.

The first coup that raised attention was a few months ago, when Nobel Prize-winner Bob Dylan sold his 600 songs to Universal for 250 million euros, followed by Taylor Swift who was sent $300 million to sell her catalog to Shamrock Capital.

Shakira began her career in 1991 with Magia and worked hard as a songwriter throughout the decade with albums like Pies Descalzos, which brought melancholy to her oldest fans. In 2001, she became an international success with Laundry Service ,which sold more than 13 million copies at the dawn of the digital mutation of the music industry. The piracy of the new millennium left behind the recording model and forced one of touring, merchandising and live performances.

However, the singer on the edge of the wave knew how to surf the change and her tour from 2006 to 2008 (Oral Fixation Tour) reached more than 2.5 million people and exceeded $180 million in revenue. Her last international show in 2018 (Dorado World Tour) visited more than 50 countries and netted $75 million.

The nine-month hiatus in the live show industry — which is expected to extend — has wreaked havoc on small artists and music professionals through huge losses in the second revenue model of the music industry. Add that to the conquest of streaming platforms over production companies and Biden's victory that is expected to mean higher taxes, it is understandable that the new trend is attractive

It is also worth mentioning that while the second model generated numerous revenues based on the principle of novelties driven by radio stations, greatest hits and other extremely popular songs from particular artists are getting a new spotlight.

It's the reason why artists are finding their work the highest possible quotas while, on the other hand, financial and investment groups also find value in its their repurposing in times of economic crisis.

For the moment, the business seems to have pluses for both parties, but will result in a new bet on the future of the music industry.

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