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Metallica and Michael Buble producer sells rights to classic songs

James Hetfield of Metallica at Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA)
James Hetfield of Metallica at Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA)

The producer of tracks by Metallica and Michael Buble has sold his rights to 43 songs after a string of sales of back catalogues by other artists.

Bob Rock has sold his producer rights for Metallica’s album Metallica, as well as Buble’s Call Me Irresponsible, Crazy Love, Christmas and To Be Loved to UK investment company Hipgnosis Songs Fund.

The deal comes shortly after songwriter and producer Ian Levine sold his rights to a string of early hits by Take That to music publisher One Media iP Group.

British Summer Time Festival – London
Michael Buble (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The deal covers Levine’s producer royalties to tracks from the pop group’s 1992 debut album Take That & Party, including A Million Love Songs, Could It Be Magic and I Found Heaven.

Recent months have seen Mick Fleetwood sell interests in his Fleetwood Mac back catalogue to BMG, and music fund Hipgnosis Songs snap up the rights to music by Neil Young, Blondie singer Debbie Harry and Mark Ronson among others.

In December, Universal Music Group announced it had acquired Bob Dylan’s entire back catalogue in a deal reported to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rock first collaborated with Metallica in 1990, co-producing their self-titled heavy metal album, most commonly referred to as The Black Album, which includes tracks Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters, Wherever I May Roam, and Sad But True.

Graham Norton show
Take That (Ian West/PA)

Rock is also a long-time collaborator with Buble, and produced his album To Be Loved, as well as tracks Call Me Irresponsible, Crazy Love and Christmas.

Merck Mercuriadis, who founded Hipgnosis, said: “The breadth of Bob Rock’s enormous successes are almost impossible to match by any creator in the history of music.

“From Metallica’s most famous Black Album to Michael Buble’s Christmas, he has produced some of the biggest albums of all time that continue to be evergreen, year in and year out.

“Everyone who has worked with Bob knows he is a difference-maker, which is why the artists he has produced end up making multiple albums with him which are almost always their biggest successes.

“Bob is very special and as a fellow Canadian. It is a pleasure to welcome him and his incredible productions to the Hipgnosis family.”

UMPG acquires Bob Dylan back catalogue
Bob Dylan (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Rock said: “I put my heart and soul into these recordings. I know how much Merck loves music, so it was an easy deal to put together.”

Separately, Hipgnosis announced that it plans to tap shareholders for new funds to spend on a pipeline of music catalogues which it has already identified.

“The pipeline catalogues contain some of the most influential and successful songs of all time, and offer substantial revenue growth opportunities through song management,” Hipgnosis said.

It did not set a target for how much money it hopes to raise, but will sell shares at 121p.

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