Hipgnosis Songs Fund saw its revenues grow to $138.4m in its last financial year, which ended on 31 March. That’s up from $83.3m the year before. Meanwhile, the company says that its catalogue has been “independently valued at $2.21 billion, reflecting a multiple of 17.96x historical annual net publisher share income”.

This, after a financial year during which Hipgnosis bought 84 new catalogues for a total outlay of $1.06bn. The impact on Hipgnosis’s indebtedness is also set out in the company’s financial filing: “Following these acquisitions, the Company’s net debt at 31 March 2021 was $438.7 million (31 March 2020: $51.8 million).

The filing also shows how Hipgnosis’s portfolio is changing. 60.2% of its songs are now more than 10 years old, compared to 32.5% at the end of its previous financial year. Meanwhile, the percentage of its catalogue that is less than three years old dropped from 9% to 2.5%, while songs aged 3-10 years fell from 58.5% to 37.3%.

Something else we spotted in the filing: what Hipgnosis has learned from developing a tool to analyse the metadata of its catalogues to “identify issues that can stop or delay payments”. And? “Our initial trial catalogues have identified 62% of Songs had data issues and we estimate a significant revenue uplift, projected to be as much as 40%, which will be realised by correcting the mistakes in registrations inherited from previous owners.”

Data issues with nearly two thirds of a catalogue? It’s a stark reminder that boosting the revenue from publishing rights isn’t just about seeking new licensing deals and business opportunities. Often, it’s more about the basic tasks of identifying errors and correcting the metadata.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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