Billion-dollar music acquisition spree drives growth at Hipgnosis

Hipgnosis has spent more than one billion dollars (£720 million) snapping up 84 back catalogues as the music rights investor continues its rapid expansion.

The London-listed firm said it saw the like-for-like value of its portfolio jump by 10.4% over the year to March.

The group hailed a “remarkable year” which saw the business buy catalogues including music by Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Blondie and Barry Manilow.

Hipgnosis said it also intends to increase its annual dividend by 5% following the period of growth.

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of the fund, said the pandemic has “accelerated the change in consumer behaviour to consuming music by streaming”.

The group said streaming income increased by 18.4% in the second half of the year compared with the previous six-month period.

Mr Mercuriadis said: “Revenues have been highly resistant during the course of this incredibly challenging year and are well placed for future growth, with global streaming adoption beating all expectations, seeing the 30 million paid subscribers when we first started grow to 450 million paid subscribers today to what are forecast to be two billion paid subscribers by the end of the decade.

“This has turned music from being a discretionary or luxury purchase to very much being a utility as a result of the convenience and access afforded by streaming.

“Going forward this accelerated streaming will be enhanced as revenues from TikTok, Peloton, Triller, Roblox, and other rapidly emerging digital platforms start to be paid through.”

Hipgnosis said it has also been buoyed by stronger TV and film revenues, which it grew from 9% to 15% by the end of the year.

Shares in the company edged 0.2% lower in early trading on Monday.