BlackRock teams up with Warner to launch new $750 million music buy fund through Influence Media

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Another week, another big money acquisition fund in music emerges…but this one comes with some interesting twists.

Financial giant BlackRock (not to be confused with Blackstone, which backs Hipgnosis) has co-invested with Warner Music Group in a new $750 million fund to acquire stakes in music copyrights.

According to the wall street journalthis fund is launched in partnership with Influence Media Partners, the American company founded by Lylette Pizarro which has already purchased the rights to songwriters such as Julia Michaels and Ali Tamposi.

There is no way to say this lightly: in its global portfolio, BlackRock currently has over 10 trillion dollars (with a ‘t’) of assets under management.

the WSJ reports that Influence Media has already spent $300 million from the new Warner/BlackRock fund on 20 catalogs, including one from Bad Bunny and J Balvin collaborator Tainy.

The fund has also acquired stakes in catalogs of songwriters/producers such as the Stereotypes (Bruno Mars), as well as Jessie Reyez (Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, Sam Smith) and Skyler Stonestreet (Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber) .

Pizarro tells WSJ that Influence invests in emerging and modern artists, in genres such as Latin and hip-hop.

Influence Media would never have acquired a full stake in a songwriter’s catalog, indicating the company’s willingness to partner with songwriters who maintain an aligned interest in the success of their music.

BlackRock has previously invested in another rights-acquiring company, Primary Wave.

Primary Wave also often enters into partnership deals with artists and songwriters, but focuses the majority of its spending on evergreen “legends” in the music industry.

This is not the first time that Warner Music Group has teamed up with an outside investment firm to create a rights purchase fund.

In December 2019, WMG announced a partnership with Tempo Music – a subsidiary of Providence Equity Partners – which has a spending capacity “north of $1 billion”.

Tempo recently acquired part of Twenty One Pilots star Tyler Joseph’s song catalog, as well as a majority stake in the recording rights to two classic Korn albums.


Former Tempo CEO Sherrese Clarke Soares now runs HarbourView, a media and music-focused company with up to $1 billion in backing from Apollo Global Management.

Last month, HarbourView announced that it had acquired the publishing catalog of Latin superstar, Luis Fonsi, for an undisclosed sum.

Alongside Blackstone, BlackRock, Providence and Apollo, another financial giant now investing heavily in music is KKR – which launched its own Chord Music fund via the $1.1 billion acquisition of a rights portfolio of Kobalt Music Group in October.

Elsewhere, Pimco (with over $2 trillion in assets under management) is said to have struck funding deals with BMG and new player Iconoclast, which acquired a rights package from Robbie Robertson of The Band earlier. This year.


The biggest single catalog music acquisitions of late, however, have come from the “big three” major music companies.

Earlier this month, Universal Music Group acquired Sting’s catalog of songs in a deal sources said MBW was worth just north of $300 million.

Last year, Sony Music Group acquired both Bruce Springsteen’s masters and publishing catalogs for around $550 million, as well as Bob Dylan’s recorded music catalog for more than $150 million.

In the past three months, Warner Music Group has also acquired David Bowie’s entire catalog of songs (for approximately $250 million), as well as Kevin Liles-led independent label 300 Entertainment for $400 million. .

UPDATE: Warner, BlackRock and Influence have now released the press release below confirming the new fund:


INFLUENCE MEDIA PARTNERS FORMS A PARTNERSHIP WITH BLACKROCK FUNDS AND WARNER MUSIC GROUP TO CREATE THE BEST MUSIC RIGHTS PLATFORM

Initial acquisitions include over 20 “modern evergreens” with a combined total of over 20 billion lifetime streams

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 24, 2022 | Today, Influencer Media Partners (“Influencer Media”) at announced a new alliance in partnership with funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Alternative Investors (“BlackRock”) and Warner Music Group (“WMG”) to create a music rights platform that will invest in and manage first compositions from some of music’s most influential creators. This includes a strategic focus on growing the “modern evergreen”, contemporary compositions that have strong potential for a multi-decade impact on pop culture, as well as investing in female artists and songwriters, with a focus on diversity.

The platform, which will be managed by Influence Media, brings together expert resources with extensive experience in music and entertainment, investment management and marketing to help increase the value of its music properties through management. active. To date, $300 million has been deployed across multiple catalogs, consisting of selected copyrights and, in several cases, future compositions by artists, songwriters and entrepreneurs. The model provides opportunities for additional scale in acquisition capital.

Initial acquisitions include more than 20 modern evergreens with over a billion lifetime streams each and include select copyrights in catalogs from creators whose work spans multiple genres. These include: Tainyan award-winning artist, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur who is best known for his work on global superstar hits Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Rosalía and Shawn Mendes (represented by NEON16’s manager Lex Borrero and attorney Jason Boyarski of Boyarski Fritz LLP); The stereotypesthe production and songwriting group that co-wrote hits for Bruno Mars (“24K Magic” and “That’s What I Like”) among many others (represented by Scott Felcher of Felcher & Freifeld, LLP) ; jessie reyezwhose co-writes include “One Kiss” with Dua Lipa and “Promises” with Calvin Harris & Sam Smith (represented by David Jacobs of Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, PC and managers Byron Wilson of 1851 House and Mauricio Ruiz of 8 Til Faint ) and Skyler Stone Street, a rising songwriter who co-wrote hits for Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande (represented by Eric Greenspan of Myman Greenspan and manager Evan Winiker of Range Music). Influence Media is represented by Howard Schiffman and Stephanie Breslow for corporate and fund counsel at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, and by Lisa Alter and Katie Baron for music counsel at Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP.

This partnership with BlackRock and WMG allows Influence Media to increase its investment in female creators, giving them unprecedented access to capital and licensing opportunities, as well as expand into new categories like music entrepreneurs . Previously announced acquisitions of Influence Media include certain copyrights of Ali Tamposi and Julia Michaels in 2021, in partnership with the Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) of Michigan, as well as certain copyrights of Jeff Bhasker , Shane McAnally and Ben Rector using bridge capital from Morgan Stanley in 2019.

The Influence Media, BlackRock and WMG partnership represents a first-of-its-kind offering of best-in-class music, marketing and investment capabilities to manage some of pop culture’s best-known copyrights, and brings together senior executives from all three companies, including: Lylette Pizarro McLeanFounder/Co-Manager at Influence Media Partners, Lynn HazanCo-Managing Partner at Influence Media Partners, and Founding Advisors & Partners Rene McLean and Jon Jashni; Pam ChanChief Investment Officer and Global Head of Alternative Solutions Group at BlackRock, and Paul Braude, Managing Director and Co-Head of Portfolio Management for the Alternative Solutions Group at BlackRock; and Temi AdénijiManaging Director of Warner Music South Africa and Senior Vice President, Strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa and Special Projects at Warner Music Group.

“Partnering with the leading teams at Influence Media and BlackRock, these catalogs will be supported by a super group of music lovers,” said Temi AdénijiManaging Director of Warner Music South Africa and Senior Vice President, Strategy, Sub-Saharan Africa and Special Projects, Warner Music Group. “Together we will provide new opportunities for some of the most talented artists and songwriters of this generation.”

“We are thrilled to be part of this programmatic venture alongside Influence Media and Warner Music Group,” said Pam Chan of black rock. “Building on our experience investing in music since 2015, this investment gives our clients access to an emerging asset class with the potential for significant income and uncorrelated returns, while aligning with our priority to invest in diverse, women-owned businesses.”

“To paraphrase what Beyonce, my favorite music entrepreneur, said, not enough women of color have had a seat at the table in the music industry, so we’ve gone ahead and cut wood. to build our own table”, noted Influence Media Founder and Associate Co-Director Lylette Pizarro McLean. “We’ve built a brilliant, savvy and diverse team that’s also nimble enough to move at the speed of culture, and we couldn’t be prouder to be in business with top-notch partners like BlackRock and Warner Music Group. . Our initial investments in modern evergreens represent a new generation of iconoclasts in music, both commercially and artistically.

Influence Media and Warner Music will jointly manage the acquired copyrights, drawing on the vast experience of both management teams from all sides of the music industry spectrum.The music industry around the world

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