If you need a breakdown of it all, read my blog here.
I referred to investment group MONSTER there, which bought half of Neil Young’s catalog for a whopping $150 million a few years ago.
This whole thing is bullshit.
You’d like to know why ?
Because Neil Young doesn’t even own his fucking music anymore.
Just over a year ago, Young sold 50% of his publications to Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a UK-based investment fund, in a deal worth $150 million. dollars.
This gave Hipgnosis the worldwide copyright and revenue rights to the 1,180 songs composed by Young.
Hipgnosis is in the business of acquiring all the artist catalogs it can get its hands on, then recouping its investment through royalties through streaming, sales, and ad placements.
Some of their other most notable clients include Mark Ronson, Chic, Barry Manilow and Blondie.
And do you want to know who is the big backer behind them?
Well, you’re gonna have to listen to “On The Guest List” this week to find out. I’m going to get into all this bullshit with an in-depth analysis of who and what is pulling the strings. And why.
As promised, White Sox Dave, myself and our podcast partners Kenny and Colin and Colin’s teammate Will took to Zoom to discuss everything.
If you’re not familiar with our podcast, “On The Guestlist”, this is a GREAT introductory episode.
As you’ll see/hear in the podcast, I’m looking at where the money leads in all this charade – because make no mistake, it’s all about the money. Always.
It turns out that in October last year, a giant investment fund by the name of Blackstone bought a majority stake in “Hipgnosis”, the band that had previously bought half of ̶s̶e̶l̶l̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ Neil Young’s music catalog for the modest sum of 150 million dollars.
Reuters – Blackstone (BX.N) said on Tuesday it would deploy around $1 billion in partnership with a consultancy owned by music executive Merck Mercuriadis to buy music rights and record songs as online streaming gains traction popularity and becomes more lucrative.
As part of the partnership, Blackstone will take a stake in Hipgnosis Song Management, an adviser to London-listed music catalog investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund (SONG) (SONG.L).
The pandemic and lack of live gigs has prompted artists, including Bob Dylan, to monetize some of their older work, at a time when streaming services have been luring in listeners.
Mercuriadis, founder and CEO of Hipgnosis Song, has signed deals with several artists this year, including Shakira, Taylor Swift songwriter Joel Little, Neil Young as well as Metallica producer Bob Rock.
So, a literal background on those Blackstone guys.
These are pretty much the worst.
They should also not be confused with the small (but still giant) Blackrock sibling.
Blackstone Group was originally formed in 1985 by Peter Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman as a “boutique mergers and acquisitions advisory”. BlackRock was born in 1987 when Peter and Stephen entered into a partnership with Larry Fink and Ralph Schlosstein – each who previously ran a mortgage-backed securities division at First Boston and – good old Lehman Brothers.
Have you ever heard of them?
Without going into the juicy details – we all know that the housing market in 2008 crashed because of Lehman Brothers. To advance.
The Blackstone Group is the literal embodiment of unfettered and unrelenting capitalism that is spreading across the globe. Their website describes itself as:
“a leading global investment firm that invests capital on behalf of pension funds, large institutions and individuals. Our mission is to create long-term value for our investors through the prudent management of their We invest in alternative asset classes in private equity, real estate, credit and hedge funds as well as infrastructure, life sciences, insurance and growth stocks. our capital grows hundreds of businesses and supports local economies”
“Blackstone has almost quadrupled in size since its IPO in 2007.
But Wall Street’s biggest private equity firm saw even greater growth in its real estate division, which grew from a $17.7 billion business when Steve Schwarzman took his company public to a which today manages nearly $100 billion in assets.
Yes Jim, after the 2007-2010 US subprime mortgage crisis, Blackstone Group LP bought over $5.5 billion worth of single-family homes for rent, then for sale when prices rose.
They basically did their homework, took over entire neighborhoods of single-family homes in areas they knew were hot, and drove those rental prices through the roof. Once rental prices skyrocketed and buying became a better alternative for young families, even at inflated prices, they turned to selling.
NOTE – none of this is “illegal”. Extremely manipulative? Yes. But as wealthy peasants will tell us, it takes money to make money.
But do you see where this leads?
Blackstone is today the largest real estate company in the world. Yes, even bigger than the Catholic Church and McDonalds; and they continue to buy assets – homes, businesses – all over the world; right now for sometimes 50% more than they are worth.
And now they have also set their sights on the world of music.
Blackstone has also invested in MNRK Music, formerly known as eOne Music, and SESAC.
If you own a hospitality venue, concert hall, or anything commercial that even has televisions in it, you know who these motherfuckers are.
SESAC is one of three “music label representative groups” whose job it is to collect money “for their artists”.
How do they do this?
They hire college grads who are looking to “get into the music business” to basically be rocked artists.
They’re also smart because they’ve set up call centers in music capitals like Nashville, LA, and NYC. These little bloodsuckers will scour the internet, and now social media, for new businesses and do a little history to see if they have any live performers (bands, DJs, solo acts, etc.), if they play music or if they even have televisions because televisions play commercials and the commercials contain songs. Then they call or email endlessly until they speak to a manager and let them know they owe their artists royalties.
Who are their artists?
Nobody really knows, but between BMI, SESAC and ASCAP, I’m pretty sure they’re all covered…
Either way, they will base what you owe based on your ability, which they will bully you into telling them. And then you “offer” an annual license.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re already paying your band, or DJ, to play music that they’ve already purchased the song (or backing track) for, or that you’re streaming music (Spotify for example) that you already pay a monthly subscription. for, or you just have a fucking Sportscenter on your TVs that you pay a cable bill for – they always want a discount on top of that. And they get it.
I digressed a lot there, but if you can’t tell, I can’t stand these companies and their business practices. And it’s no surprise that Blackstone is behind one of the biggest of them all.
So between investing, housing, and now music rights, these guys have a lot going for them and are well-diversified.
(If that was too much to read, this video does a decent job of explaining some of them)
(Also, if you really want to put your tinfoil hat on, these guys bought WTC Building #7 in 2000, shortly before 9/11)
I bring this all up because it’s woefully hypocritical for a man who has built his career identity representing the common man and calling on the establishment to be shilling and in bed with one of the greatest beacons of capitalism in the world. Responsible for squeezing the common man in every way.
When “Young” took issue with Spotify for allowing Rogan onto their platform, and ultimately stuck to their word and pulled his music, people laughed at the fact that he wanted out anyway (he had already ripped off his music on poor streaming quality years before).
But Young’s publishing revenue from Spotify last year was $308,000, according to Billboard, or about 19% of his revenue.
That’s a lot of money for a semi-retired musician. I don’t care who you are.
That’s a lot to avoid.
This is change for Blackstone.
Which makes you wonder.
As I predicted, this thing snowballed quickly over the past week, with a few other artists following suit and other much bigger names being thrown into the discussion although they have never made statements regarding Young or Rogan (Foo Fighters for example). Which also raises questions.
In 2020, Blackstone appointed a man named Jeff Kindler to its senior advisory board.
Jeff Kindler was an accomplished senior executive, having held leadership positions at General Electric and McDonald’s. But above all, he was the CEO of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
The COVID-19 vaccine is perhaps Pfizer’s biggest product to date, with a forecast of around $65 billion in sales for 2021 and 2022, or around 80% of Pfizer’s sales. all income.
I’m not pretending to connect the dots here, or point fingers at an “aha, gotcha” moment, but I’m saying the whole thing stinks.
And that was BEFORE those three Patriottakes clowns came out with the Rogan smear campaign this weekend. When you take that into account as well, you can see that it seems terribly coincidental to say that it all evolved naturally and by chance. It seems much more likely, and sadly realistic, that this will be a well-coordinated and orchestrated withdrawal.
You can call me a conspiracy theorist like many do for not taking 99% of things at face value and asking questions, but to me none of that adds up.
This guy, Jimmy Dore, also did a really good podcast on the subject.
But again, if you’re interested in this topic or just want to know what’s going on, listen to our podcast or watch
and stay tuned this week as we continue to discuss that and what else is happening in the music world. Like and Subscribe!