Justin Timberlake is the latest artist to sell off his songs.
The pop-star has sold his full catalog to Hipgnosis Song Management, the company announced Thursday (May 26). That includes Hot 100 chart-toppers “Sexyback,” “What Goes Around… Comes Around,” “My Love” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
Along with Timberlake’s share of ownership over his already classic song catalog, Hipgnosis now owns the multi-hyphenate talent’s entire writer and publisher’s share of public performance income (Timberlake is signed to ASCAP) and will handle worldwide administration of the compositions, subject to the remaining term of his Universal Music agreement, which expires in 2025.
From Memphis, Tennessee, Timberlake has been one of the most recognizable voices in music since his time as a member of the popular boyband *NSYNC, releasing hits like “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me” from 1997-2001. Timberlake and other *NSYNC members typically did not participate in the writing process of their songs, but he is credited as a writer for “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” the boyband’s perennial holiday hit. He is also credited as a co-writer on a few of the group’s later songs, including “Pop,” “Celebrity,” “Gone,” “I’ll Be Good To You” and “See Right Through You.”
Timberlake released his debut solo record Justified in 2002, including his first Hot 100 top five hit, the Timbaland-produced “Cry Me A River” and the Pharrell Williams-produced “Rock Your Body.” Timberlake is credited as a co-writer across all of the album’s tracks, and he is co-wrote “Cry Me a River” with Timothy Mosley and Scott Storch. He co-wrote “Rock Your Body” with Chad Hugo and Williams.
Its groove-inflected pop sound flirted with in his debut proved to be the precursor to Timberlake’s far funkier, self-assured sophomore project FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006). With the help of Timbaland, who did much of the heavy lifting on its production, FutureSex produced the singer’s biggest song to date: “SexyBack” which held the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for seven weeks as well as “What Goes Around… Comes Around.” The album was entirely co-written by Timberlake. Both No. 1s were written alongside Floyd Hills and Timbaland.
In between albums, Timberlake proved himself to be also among the greatest acting talents in Hollywood with his role as Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, in The Social Network (2010) and as Jim Berkey in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He returned to that same year with the release of The 20/20 Experience, a sleeker more sophisticated project, featuring songs like “Suit & Tie,” featuring Jay-Z and “Mirrors.”
Timberlake also holds co-writing credits across the entire album, although this project tended to feature more writers than his previous two. “Mirrors” was co-written alongside James Fauntleroy, Christopher Godbey, Leslie Harmon, Garland Mosley, and Timbaland. “Suit & Tie” was written with Jay-Z, James Fauntleroy, Charles Still, Leslie Harmon, Terry Stubbs, John Wilson and Timbaland. Since then, he’s minted a few one-off singles as Hot 100 hits, including “Can’t Stop The Feeling” for the Trolls soundtrack, which he also executive produced. He also released his album Man of the Woods in 2018, which opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, his fourth leader.
With one of the most revered discographies of the 21st century, Timberlake says that he is excited to partner with Hipgnosis and its founder and CEO, Merck Mercuriadis, because “he values artists and their creative work and has always been a strong supporter of songwriters and storytelling.”
He was represented in this acquisition by managers Rick Yorn, Josh Dembling at LBI Entertainment and Johnny Wright at Wright Entertainment Group and lawyers David Lande and Mitch Tenzer at Ziffren Brittenham LLP.
Mercuriadis adds, “Justin Timberlake is not only one of the most influential artists of the last 20 years but he’s also one of the greatest songwriters of all time…Putting this deal together has been a complete labour of love for Justin, Rick, David and myself, and I’m delighted to welcome them all to the Hipgnosis Family. This is the beginning of what we believe will be an incredible relationship important to us all.”
The acquisition was completed on behalf of Hipgnosis Songs Capital, a partnership between Hipgnosis Song Management and funds managed by Blackstone. The two entities first announced their partnership in October 2021, with Blackstone contributing $1 billion to acquire music rights and manage catalogs alongside Hipgnosis Song Management.