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Hipgnosis acquires share in Rick James catalogue

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited (“Hipgnosis” or the “Company”)

Acquisition of Music Catalogue

The Board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, the first UK listed investment company offering investors a pure-play exposure to songs and associated intellectual property rights, and its Investment Adviser, The Family (Music) Limited, are pleased to announce that the Company has acquired a share of the music catalogue of Grammy Award winning songwriter, record producer, and punk-funk inventor, Rick James. Hipgnosis has acquired 50% of Rick James’ Publishing interests, Writers’ share, Neighbouring Rights (Sound Exchange) and Recorded Masters (UMG) share of income in his catalogue comprising 97 songs.

Rick James is best known for his iconic, platinum certified, album ‘Street Songs’, which spent an unprecedented 78 weeks on the US R&B chart, including 20 weeks at Number 1, and included the global hit ‘Super Freak’. ‘Super Freak’, with its funk, disco, rock and new wave elements, has remained a global sensation with over 100 million streams on Spotify, and a listing in Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’. Its predominant riff was sampled on MC Hammer’s global Number 1, ‘U Can’t Touch This’, which has been streamed over 185 million times on Spotify. ‘U Can’t Touch This’ was an instant success, reaching Number 1 on the US R&B Billboard chart, as well as the Top 10 of the singles charts in the US, UK, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden. The song has also been used extensively in television shows, films and adverts ever since its release in 1990. Rick James is amongst the most sampled and interpolated artists of all time whose work has given birth to new songs and recordings by Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Ray, ASAP Rocky, Jay Z and many more.

‘Street Songs’ reached Number 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart and Number 1 on the US R&B album chart. The album included the hit ‘Give It to Me’, which spent five weeks at Number 1 on the US R&B Billboard chart and has been streamed over 46 million times on Spotify. 

Rick James initially found success in 1977 after forming The Stone City Band with their debut album ‘Come Get It!’ reaching Number 3 of the US R&B albums chart. ‘Come Get It!’ featured two hit singles with ‘You and I’ reaching Number 1 on the US R&B Billboard, and ‘Mary Jane’ reaching Number 5 on the US R&B Billboard and having been streamed on Spotify over 40 million times. 

Rick James was also known for his soulful ballads including ‘Fire & Desire’, a duet with singer Teena Marie. Whilst not released as a single, the song has become a classic hit. ‘Ebony Eyes’, recorded with Smokey Robinson, has become another of Rick James’ most notable hits. 

In addition to singing and songwriting, Rick James had a successful career as a talented producer; working on hits including Eddie Murphy’s ‘Party All the Time’, The Temptations’ ‘Standing on the Top’, and with R&B, soul and funk group, Mary Jane Girls, for whom he wrote and produced all recordings. The band released two US gold certified albums, ‘Mary Jane Girls’ and ‘Only Four You’, and are most recognised for their songs ‘In My House’, ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Candy Man’. 

The Catalogue was acquired using proceeds from the Company’s July C Share fundraising.

Merck Mercuriadis, Founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and The Family (Music) Limited, said: 

“Rick James was a true innovator. His “Punk Funk” philosophy and style paved the way and influenced everyone from Prince to Michael Jackson to Jay Z and the biggest names in hip hop. All the while he was an incredible songwriter, producer, arranger, performer and artist making iconic songs like ‘Super Freak’ and ‘Give It to Me Baby’. He’s one of the most sampled and interpolated creators of all time whose works have been turned into huge successes by MC Hammer, Lana Del Ray and Kendrick Lamar just to name a few. We are delighted to welcome his iconic work to the Hipgnosis Family and look forward to working closely with his daughter Ty James and his estate to ensure his legacy shines.”

Ty James said: 

“We are excited about our new venture with Hipgnosis, and pleased to establish this epic partnership with a company that truly appreciates the dynamic diversity of my Dad’s music. Music that transcends through decades. Our goal is for my Dad’s music to not only live, but to stay forever young and in the hearts of our families, friends, fans. We are elated for what’s to come from the union of our powerful musical entities working together. More greatness to come.”

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