Metallica and their co-manager Cliff Burnstein are joining others in an investment venture called the Worldwired IP Fund. The collective undertaking — cribbing its name from the band’s recent world tours — will focus on buying other artist’s song catalogs, aiming to purchase those of several classic rock acts.
The new acquisition venture will be led by former Morgan Stanley investment banker Paul Donahue, as Variety made public from two sources on Wednesday (July 8). Starting with assets between $300-$500 million, the fund will also look at purchasing other intellectual property forms besides just music.
Donahue has previous ties with Metallica — he’s an advisory board member of the group’s charitable All Within My Hands Foundation. Also reported to be involved in the Worldwired IP Fund are former Fender Guitars president Matt Janopaul and onetime Sony/ATV co-president Rick Krim.
The venture’s formation follows the success of a similar but unrelated entity called Hipgnosis Songs, started by music tycoon Merck Mercuriadis in 2018, as Rolling Stone pointed out. Hipgnosis has reportedly invested $1 billion and amassed a cache of over 12,000 songs from well-known artists.
However, one of the sources speaking to Variety emphasized that Hipgnosis Songs didn’t directly inspire the creation of the Worldwired IP Fund. Still, it looks like the Metallica-involved venture will attempt to operate similarly — by purchasing song catalogs and driving up their values.
As indicated above, Metallica themselves aren’t leading the new investment fund, even though they did lend the name of their “WorldWired Tour” to the IP concern. Donahue, the head of the operation, still acts as a special advisor to Morgan Stanley after 32 years there as an expert in equity capital markets.
Metallica, Burnstein and the band’s management firm, Q Prime Artist Management, have yet to offer any comment regarding the Worldwired IP Fund after Variety tried to reach out to them. So far, Rolling Stone also unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a statement from the veteran metal group on the matter.
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