KKR has joined a feeding frenzy for lucrative song rights after agreeing to buy a majority stake in the catalogue of songwriter Ryan Tedder who has penned hits for Beyoncé, Adele, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.
Mr Tedder, alongside Max Martin and Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, is one of a number of professional hitmakers behind some of the most successful songs in the streaming age. His catalogue includes nearly 500 songs that have sold more than 420m copies, or the equivalent of 63bn streams, according to KKR. No financial details of the deal were disclosed.
The value of back catalogues has boomed in the past five years with the streaming era giving hit songs a new lease of life. A number of specialist funds have emerged to scoop up rights that have become more valuable as services such as Spotify and Apple Music have grown in size, spurring multiple deals as many artists decide to cash in.
One of the best known, London-listed Hipgnosis, has spent more than £1.2bn on acquisitions. It competes with other funds such as Round Hill and Primary Wave as well as the big music labels, which own the rights to millions of songs.
KKR has emerged as another investor on the scene.
The New York-headquartered group, which made the investment through its Dislocation Opportunities Fund, has targeted music in the past. It was an original investor in music company BMG when it was relaunched in 2009, previously owned DJ equipment maker AlphaTheta and now owns guitar maker Gibson.
Mr Tedder’s management company Patriot Management and artist development company mtheory will retain a minority stake in the songwriter’s back catalogue. Interscope Records, owned by Universal Music, will retain the rights to the masters of his band OneRepublic.
KKR said it would work to expand the reach of Mr Tedder’s music through its network of digital investments. The private equity group also has stakes in TikTok owner ByteDance, India’s Jio Platforms and Fortnite game maker Epic Games.
“Streaming and all forms of digital content are not only providing new avenues for how we consume music, but also for how artists can reach new audiences in a much more immersive way,” Mr Tedder said in a statement.