Merck Mercuriadis’ Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited taps publishing veteran Richard Rowe as executive vice president, effective immediately.
Rowe joins the acquisitive company from Round Hill Music, the business he co-founded in 2010 alongside CEO Josh Gruss and its president Neil Gillis.
As vice chairman of Round Hill Music, Rowe took the lead on a string of deals from Carlin Music to Eddie Holland, ArtHouse (Kara DioGuardi), Eric Carmen, Brody Brown, Randy Bachman, and the Gil catalog which included six songs by The Beatles.
Prior to that, Rowe co-founded R2M Music Publishing.
Rowe made his mark with the Sony Music Group, in particular its music publishing division, which he helmed for 15 years as president.
Today, Rowe is “one of the most important and successful executives in the music industry,” Mercuriadis acknowledges in a statement. “He helped build Sony ATV into the company it is today and played an important role in bringing Round Hill Music Royalty Fund successfully to the market in the wake of Hipgnosis.”
Mercuriadis paid tribute to Rowe’s “incredible” dealmaking skills, including the partnership with Michael Jackson bringing The Beatles copyrights to Sony ATV, and the acquisition of Acuff-Rose Music which included the catalogs of Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers.
Rowe’s career started in 1979 at CBS Records, initially as a lawyer in its Business Affairs Department before rising to president of Sony Music Publishing from 1991 to 2005. (The company was renamed Sony ATV Music Publishing in 1995.)
Hipgnosis has been on a head-turning spending spree. This year alone, the company has snapped up rights of producers Jimmy Iovine and Bob Rock, Colombian singer Shakira, rock legends Neil Young and Lindsey Buckingham, and more.
Mercuriadis isn’t finished buying-up big. On the recruitment of Rowe, he comments: “I look forward to having him work closely with me as we grow and manage our portfolio of proven hit songs.”
Hipgnosis’ investment advisor, The Family (Music) Limited, has a “pipeline catalog” currently under due diligence or late-stage discussions at a combined purchase price of over £1 billion ($1.4 billion), according to a company prospectus issued January.